Thursday, 23 March 2023

Crypto News

Bitcoin dialogue at WEF requires ‘open-mind’ — Davos 2023

Bitcoin dialogue at WEF requires ‘open-mind’ — Davos 2023

Every year the World Economic Forum convenes in Davos, taking over the Swiss skiing town. The main Promenade is flush with events and companies renting out properties, with an increasing presence in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space.

The entrance to the WEF compound is clearly demarcated by cement barriers and security personnel, drawing an invisible line between the conference and the rest of Davos. Curiously, the last building on the fringe of the conference was branded with familiar logos, that of Polygon and the ever-recognizable Bitcoin (BTC) symbol.

Cointelegraph stumbled upon Pietro Poretti while shooting footage of the Bitcoin logo emblazoned on the Tech Lodge stand. Poretti is the director of Lugano’s Economic Development department. This Swiss city has opened up BTC and crypto payments for various municipal accounts for its residents through its Lugano Plan B project.

Bitcoin was not on the official agenda of the WEF in 2023. Crypto and blockchain featured across different workshops during the week, but these conversations focused more on Web3, the Metaverse, CBDCs and blockchain payment systems than decentralized cryptocurrency adoption.

Pietro Poretti speaks to Cointelegraph’s Gareth Jenkinson just outside of the World Economic Forum compound in Davos in January 2023.

2023 is the second year that Lugano’s Plan B setup shop in Davos, as it looks to meet new people, create connections and share its story driving real-world BTC adoption and use cases. The project has been operational since March 2022 and Poretti says while its in its infancy, it’s about educating and demonstrating the utility of cryptocurrencies:

“It’s about promoting crypto payments throughout the city by the city administration. Soon in Lugano you’ll be able to pay taxes, fines, anything you pay to the municipality.”

Plan B merchants accept payment in its native LVGA token, Bitcoin and Lightning, as well as Tether (USDT). Sharing experience with other industries, policymakers and public officials has been a focus this year, and Poretti says payments innovation has been approached with ‘small but very concrete steps’ focused on providing different but complementary payment gateways.

“I think that at the end of the day, if people see the benefits of having an alternative, right, it’s not something necessarily will replace or is going to replace.”

Lugano’s cryptocurrency payments initiative could serve as a tangible case study for the adoption of decentralized…

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