A Munich city council rep has formally suggested for the city to accept Bitcoin for official payments.
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‘Loss of Trust’ in Euro
Andre Wächter, head of the Munich arm of Germany’s Alliance for Progress and Renewal (ALFA) party, made the proposal in direct opposition to the policies of the European Central Bank (ECB), local newspaper Abendzeitung reports.
“The misguided politics of trying to preserve the euro and the ECB’s monetary policy in general will sooner rather than later lead to a huge loss of trust in the euro itself,” Wächter said.
In such a scenario it’s important that Munich as the regional capital is unequivocally on the side of residents and, as part of that, helps raise awareness of alternatives to the euro system.
ALFA identifies the opportunity for a “virtual payment system” to be introduced, specifically mentioning Bitcoin as the likely currency. Residents would have the choice of paying in BTC at selected locations, for example when paying fees connected with local government.
Germany has typically been something of a mixed bag for Bitcoin legally, with an equal mixture of setbacks and advancements in business creating an uncertain environment for proponents of virtual currency. Nonetheless, Wächter sees the real uncertainty in traditional payment options used overwhelmingly in Germany, with Bitcoin as a solution.
The proposal was developed “in light of cash payments coming under fire and bank and credit cards always threatening to impose fines [on users],” Abendzeitung writes. Bitcoin, per Wächter, constitutes not only a further payment option but equally a suitable store of value.
German Business Embraces BTC
In the German business sector, which has traditionally been more receptive to Bitcoin than lawmakers, progress is also speeding up in 2016. T3n, the German technology magazine, this week has announced its partnership with Hannover-based startup PEY to pay out a portion of staff salaries in bitcoin.
In an article about its “Bitcoin experiment”, t3n similarly voiced its desire to provide easier access to cash and card alternatives, noting that in its base city Hannover there is currently only one Bitcoin ATM.
“We want to create an additional means of accessing digital currency by paying out salaries in the form of Bitcoin,” the magazine stated. “Because at the moment, there are not really that many points of access for it.”
The integration of BTC payments in Munich meanwhile would be done through a pilot scheme, which Wächter foresees attracting “minimal” costs. A timeline for possible debate and assessment of practicalities has thus far not been made public.
BitShares Munich’s Christoph Hering meanwhile told Bitcoin.com that while potential for a Bitcoin use case is there, public appetite is still lackluster.
“[Germans are] worried about negative interest rates, but they do not know a better alternative, and they do not trust Bitcoin to be better,” he said.
Germany is losing billions in savings every year, but due to lack of alternatives it all stays in the banking system.
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Images courtesy of iwilltravelblog.com, welt.de, t3n.de