El Salvador and Switzerland Share Common Love of Burgers and Bitcoinby Matthew Allen, SWI swissinfo.ch November 10, 2022
El Salvador has partnered with the Swiss city of Lugano to promote bitcoin adoption. It’s an unlikely partnership and an obscure reason to join forces, but for both parties this is an earnest and worthwhile endeavour.
The glue that binds the Central American country with Lugano is Tether, a company that mints stablecoins – digital currencies backed by traditional financial assets, designed to dampen wild fluctuations in value.
Tether and El Salvador formed an alliance in 2021 to re-engineer the country’s payments system. In March of this year, Tether and Lugano co-founded the ‘Plan B’ project to encourage shops and consumers to use cryptocurrencies.
McDonald’s is one of 60 merchants in Lugano to accept bitcoin and the city wants to raise that number to 1,000 in the next six months.
Crypto Nation magnet
It’s difficult to tell right now if the partnership with El Salvador is largely symbolic or if an exchange of support and ideas can generate anything of consequence.
But it seems clear that Switzerland’s growing reputation as ‘Crypto Nation’, rolling out the red carpet for crypto and blockchain technology, had some bearing on El Salvador’s interest.
“We share a love for innovation and bold ideas,”
said El Salvador’s Ambassador to the United States, Milena Mayorga.
Switzerland would love others to express the same admiration and to choose the Alpine state as headquarters for their blockchain projects.
But there is growing competition to attract the cream of blockchain technology.
Dubai is moving at lightning speed to become the world’s number one blockchain hub. Singapore has adopted a similar strategy to Switzerland. Germany and France are working hard in Europe and Britain also has aspirations in this area.
The US, particularly Silicon Valley, New York and Miami, is determined to make the most of its position as the world’s leading economic power.
Who will win the race or at least establish themselves as a serious player alongside other blockchain hubs?
This is the subject of a recorded a ‘Let’s Talk’ studio debate hosted by SWI swissinfo.ch with contributions from Switzerland, Dubai and the US.
I was also part of a panel that delved into the potential opportunities and pitfalls of attracting this revolutionary business.
The debate explores the conditions that are necessary to become a global blockchain hub and asks what the future will bring. Do give it a watch.