A Swiss town that is billing itself as a hub for the digital currency industry will accept bitcoin for some payments starting this summer, in what proponents call a worldwide first by a government body and a sign that “crypto finance” is growing in legitimacy.
The town council in northern Zug last week approved plans to accept payments of up to 200 Swiss francs (about $200) for municipal registration fees starting July 1, in what Mayor Dolfi Mueller called Wednesday an “experiment” aimed at making the digitally-minded town a pioneer in finance.
Many in Zug tout the town’s reputation as part of “Crypto Valley,” with some 15 companies linked to the digital currency business. The council’s move is designed in part to help those firms, while providing a coming-of-age push to bitcoin, which has been used widely already in private-sector transactions.
Niklas Nikolajsen, CEO of financial services company Bitcoin Suisse AG in Zug, said the city’s decision is “the first example of a state entity that accepts bitcoin.”
Officials in the city of 30,000 people note that the scale so far is small, and only a few thousand francs’ worth of fees are expected to be paid with bitcoin this year. Tax payments, for