Passive Acceptance to Active Use
Governments have long treated Bitcoin with a sort of apprehension. Some have refused to acknowledge its legitimacy, and they have even banned its use. More recently, it has been accepted as tender in certain countries, like Japan or like Luxembourg; however, no government has ever had the courage to actively use bitcoin in fees and dues paid to government.
The small municipality of Zug in Switzerland announced on May 3, 2016 that it will be accepting Bitcoin payments for fees, dues, and payments. This is part of the municipality's first trial run accepting cryptocurrencies.
As the first implementation of the pilot program, the municipality will only be accepting payments of up to 200 Francs. But there is the possibility of increasing this cap in the future.
This trial will last until the end of the year 2016. The results will then be analyzed, with particular interest to the cost and benefits of accepting bitcoin. This analysis will then be the basis of deciding whether or not to permanently accept bitcoin payments for municipal services.
It's no surprise that this development came in Switzerland, particularly in Zug. The municipality has been called the "Crypto Valley", due to the many financial technology operations that have taken root there. Fifteen fintech companies are currently based in Zug; it boasts one of the lowest tax rates in the world; and three percent of the world's petroleum trade flows through the town.
This move is merely the town council embracing this tech and business-friendly identity of the city.
"We want to express our openness to new technologies by expressing our own experiences (with bitcoin). We will invite Fintech companies in Zug to exchange ideas with the City Council. Our goal is to meet their needs for optimal development in our thriving economic environment." says the town mayor Dolfi Müller in a local report.