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Zug’s bitcoin pilot project kicks off

According to latest reports, the residents of the city of Zug, Switzerland can now pay their fees in digital currency bitcoin. With this, Zug, also known as “Crypto Valley”, has become the first locality in the world to accept bitcoin payments.

"With Bitcoin, we're sending a message: We in Zug want to get out in front of future technologies”, Zug's mayor Dolfi Müller told Deutsche Welle.

The announcement of this pilot project was made in May this year. Payments are initially limited to an equivalent of 200 francs. Müller wanted to keep risk at low levels, being aware of the controversies surrounding the digital currency. All bitcoin payments are immediately converted into the Swiss franc.

"That's what the stock exchange is for," says Müller, "it saves us from losing huge amounts in nanoseconds."

Deutsche Welle reported that fintech companies in the region are closely watching the experiment. Nearly 20 fintech companies have set up offices in Zug and neighboring Baar, including Bitcoin Suisse, Xapo, Monetas, Ethereum, ShapeShift and others.

Launched on July 1, the pilot project will run till the end of this year. The previous announcement stated that an analysis would be done of the “lessons learned” by 2016-end. Thereafter, it will be decided if bitcoins and other digital currencies are to be accepted as payment for other municipal services in the future.

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