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Embracing a Diverse Digital Currency Future: Lugano, the Swiss City

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Embracing a Diverse Digital Currency Future: Lugano, the Swiss City

A local financial official in Lugano, Switzerland believes that a future where Bitcoin, stablecoins, and central bank digital currencies (CBDC) coexist is possible. Paolo Bortolin, the deputy chief financial officer for the city, sees the potential for different digital currencies to serve different purposes. While Bitcoin operates independently in a decentralized manner, CBDCs are centralized and serve in a different way. Wholesale CBDCs are used for transactions among financial institutions, while retail CBDCs are seen as a standard digital currency for everyday payments. Bortolin notes that the arrival of retail CBDCs is less certain, citing concerns around privacy and competition with traditional banks. Until retail CBDCs are widely adopted, stablecoins like Tether are likely to play an important role in the digital financial ecosystem. Bortolin mentioned that Switzerland is making progress with its wholesale CBDC project, Helvetia III, and if the Swiss National Bank issues a CBDC, Lugano will certainly use it. In December 2023, Lugano expanded its scope of supported crypto payments, accepting Bitcoin, USDT, and the local stablecoin LVGA as payments for taxes and other fees. Since launching its Plan B initiative with Tether, Lugano has gained 400 BTC and USDT-accepting merchants and 14,000 users.

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