I have already talked about Switzerland and Lugano in this article. Lugano, the largest town in the holiday region of Ticino, is not only Switzerland’s third most important financial centre and a conference, banking and business centre, but also a town of parks and flowers, villas and sacred buildings. With Mediterranean flair, Lugano offers all the advantages of a world-class city, combined with the cachet of a small town. Lugano’s Plan ₿ Forum is the premier Bitcoin conference bringing together world leaders, technologists, and entrepreneurs to discuss nation-state Bitcoin adoption, economics, financial freedom, and freedom of speech. There were many speakers who brought great value to the conference and I will mention a few: Adam Back (CEO at Blockstream), Paolo Ardoino (CTO at Tether and Bitfinex), Nick Szabo (Cypherpunk and Computer Scientist), Max Keiser (Founder of El Zonte Capital), Michele Foletti (Mayor of City of Lugano), Jimmy Song (Bitcoin Expert, Open-Source Coder, Bitcoin Books Writer), John Noble Shipton (Father of Julian Assange / Advisor - Assange Campaign Inc), Stella Assange ( Julian Assange’s Wife), Natalie Brunell (Host of Coin Stories and Hard Money), Milena Mayorga (Ambassador of El Salvador to the United States of America), Mike Chobanian (Founder Kuna.io), etc ..
The agenda that unfolded over the two days of the conference was full of events and speeches (“The Attack on Julian Assange is an Attack on Freedom of Speech” was very interesting). Lugano’s Plan ₿ also gave birth to the Plan ₿ Summer School which was held from 3 to 16 July 2022. The purpose of this school is to learn the main business, regulatory and technological implications of blockchain and Bitcoin from world-class experts in an intensive two-week program. In this school it’s possible:
- learn about Bitcoin, Lightning Network, stablecoins and Consensus Mechanism fundamentals from world-class speakers and lecturers
- learn the key concepts behind smart contracts and solidity through real use cases and applications
- gain familiarity with AML and compliance procedures, learn how to monitor blockchain transactions and improve your cybersecurity knowledge
- comprehend the fundamentals of DeFi, Tokenization, DAOs and NFTs.
Students work individually and in groups on real-life challenges presented by the tutors throughout the course. At the end of the two-week program, the groups participate in a pitch competition to present the outcome of their work. The best three teams compete for a prize totalling USDT 9,000 (1st USDT 5,000, 2nd USDT 2,500, 3rd USDT 1,500). A jury comprised of blockchain experts, professors and company representatives assess and award the teams.
In Lugano some merchants already accept cryptocurrencies in their stores but Paolo Ardoino (CTO at Tether and Bitfinex) now expects 1,000 Lugano merchants will be able to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment in the first quarter of 2023. In the streets of the city center there are some signs that remind citizens and tourists that it is already possible to pay for coffee in Bitcoin.
Mc Donald’s in Lugano also accepts BTC for orders.
According to the Swiss newspaper La Regione, a few days ago Lugano signed a Memorandum of Understanding with El Salvador to consolidate the economic cooperation. Mayor Michele Foletti announced it during the Plan ₿ Forum. The formal signing of the agreement between the two parties took place in Palazzo Civico: Mayor Michele Foletti, Deputy Mayor Roberto Badaracco, municipal officials Cristina Zanini Barzaghi, Filippo Lombardi, Lorenzo Quadri, Tiziano Galeazzi and the municipal secretary Robert Bregy received Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli, Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of El Salvador to the United Nations Office in Geneva — Switzerland and Milena Mayorga, Ambassador of El Salvador to the United States. Mayor Michele Foletti said: “Thanks to Bitcoin and the pioneering path undertaken by both your Government and the City of Lugano, it was possible to build this collaboration, which resulted in the Memorandum of Understanding of economic cooperation between the City of Lugano and the Government of the Republic of El Salvador. It is our common interest to promote cooperation and the development of synergies in the context of Lugano Plan B, in support of the institutions and companies of our territories. We are interested in El Salvador’s experiences adopting Bitcoin as a legal tender. We want to continue proposing initiatives in collaboration with educational and research institutions and private and public partners to create knowledge and skills in our territory and support its competitiveness”.
Ambassador Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli said that the signing of the Memorandum would consolidate relations and exchanges between the two entities: “The use of Bitcoin and Blockchain technology creates new opportunities for growth and investment that benefit our communities; it is a new alternative financial and exchange tool that fosters trade and the provision of services in a globalized world. With this agreement, El Salvador is now much closer to Europe”.
The Memorandum of Understanding also provides for the physical presence of a representation of the Government of El Salvador on the territory of Lugano, which will foster cooperation with educational and research institutions, encouraging the development of initiatives related to this technology. Finally, El Salvador’s Ambassador to the United States Milena Mayorga emphasized: “I am so pleased to have been able to announce this history-making partnership between the innovative city of Lugano and my beloved home country of El Salvador. We share a love for innovation and bold ideas, and this initiative will be a game-changer in the exchange of ideas and best practices in economic freedom. My fellow Salvadorans and I are very excited by the promise of Bitcoin, and I look forward to seeing how this partnership will help increase access to economic security and economic freedom for all, one of the main goals of President Nayib Bukele’s government”.
The drones’ show that took place on the evening of the closing day in the sky over the lake was spectacular. Numerous writings have appeared such as “Plan ₿ Forum Lugano 2022” or “Bitcoin is freedom”.
Congratulations to the organizers and to the Mayor Michele Foletti for the success of the conference. Lugano confirms itself as a city with a strategic and far-sighted vision and is destined to become the European capital of cryptocurrencies.
A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.
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