As an epicentre of blockchain, the revolutionary technology behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Zug is cutting edge. The town is home to early innovators like the cryptocurrency exchange Bitcoin Suisse, which among other things runs Bitcoin ATMs in most Swiss cities and the Zug government itself, which caused a media stir when it became the first in the world to accept Bitcoin as payment for government services.
It was one of Ethereum’s founders who, impressed by the blockchain scene he found in Zug 4 years ago, coined the term Crypto Valley. Switzerland, for instance, has become one of the world’s most favoured locations for blockchain fundraising through initial coin offerings (ICOs). It is also headquarters to many of the most important blockchain companies, with new start-ups seeming to arrive every day.
The world’s most competitive country 6 years running according to the WEF, Switzerland has always been a good place for technology or other high value-add enterprises.
It has excellent infrastructure, some of the best academic institutions in the world, a highly skilled and motivated workforce, as well as low corporate and individual taxes. It is also prized by businesses for its political stability, rule of law, strong, stable currency and deep pools of capital.
Zug is home to the Crypto Valley Association, a government-supported entity that was officially formed in January 2017 as a way to “take full advantage of Switzerland’s strengths to build the world’s leading blockchain and cryptographic technologies ecosystem.”
According to its website, the association facilitates research, organizes industry events, and provides networking opportunities for startups.
The Swiss regulator has been open and supportive of blockchain technology. To foster innovation, it introduced a Fintech “sandbox” that allows start-ups – including blockchain-based ones – to safely experiment with innovative products having to do with money. It has also taken a generally liberal approach to cryptocurrencies, ruling that not every token is a priori a security and must be regulated.
Local governments have been supportive too. Along with accepting Bitcoin for government services, Zug recently implemented a blockchain-based digital ID system for residents. In the Swiss city of Chiasso, residents can pay local taxes in Bitcoin. You can buy Bitcoin at any of the Swiss national railways’ more than 10,000 ticket machines.
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