Zurich’s local government has gone against initiatives elsewhere in Switzerland by refusing to allow Bitcoin payments of taxes or salaries.
Zurich Residents ‘Don’t Want To Pay In Bitcoin’
While a similar scheme has proven popular in the city of Zug, an enquiry by two local politicians was met with news that “neither a strategy for Bitcoin use nor preliminary measures” were being looked into in the Swiss capital at present.
Switzerland has recently warmed to Bitcoin somewhat, despite the country being the traditional home of legacy banking and a fiat stronghold.
Lawmakers have given the green light to those who wish to interact with cryptocurrency officially, as the Zug scheme demonstrates.
The Zurich decision thus appears to go against the trend, with the language of the governing body – the Stadtrat – nonetheless pointing to underlying uncertainty about the best stance to take going forward.
The city could jump on the Bitcoin bandwagon “with relatively little effort” should it become a “generally accepted payment method,” local news resource Finanz Und Wirtschaft reports. The Stadtrat adds that this scenario runs “against expectations.”
“It is not known to the Stadtrat that residents wish to pay taxes or fees in Bitcoin,” it continues.
Fact or Fiction?
The response is also accompanied by overly generalized language pertaining to the nature of Bitcoin usage, some of which could be easily deemed factually incorrect. The Stadtrat writes:
The fact that every person can anonymously open as many accounts as possible restricts transparency and simplifies the potential to acquire goods illegally or launder money.
It is generally known that the use of Bitcoin is not anonymous, and that it does not employ “accounts.”
Nonetheless, it is civil protection that lawmakers seemingly state as a major reason why Bitcoin payment facilitation in Zurich is not a priority. Security of residents should not be endangered, the Stadt says, “by getting involved with a virtual currency that harbors a high risk of loss and misuse.”
Further evidence suggests the line on Bitcoin to be contrary to the overall plans for Zurich. Already known as a major fintech player, the city’s strategy through 2035 clearly defines the need to become a “top location” for the IT industry.
“This acknowledgment will be borne out through several E-government projects and regular involvement with representatives of the modern financial technology [industry],” the Neue Zürcher Zeitung quoted the Stadtrat as saying last month.
What do you think about the patchwork legislative climate in Switzerland? Let us know in the comments section below!