Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Bitfinex and Tether, spoke about cryptocurrency adoption in Europe.
At the Paris Blockchain Week Summit (PBWS) at the historic neoclassical Palais Brongniart, the headquarters of the Paris Stock Exchange from 1826 to 1987, European news reporter Joe Hall recorded an in-depth interview with Bitfinex and Tether CTO Paolo Ardoino.
Paolo Ardoino was ranked 88th in the prestigious Cointelegraph Top 100 2021 for his significant influence on the growth of the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem. The interview covered various topics, including the actual adoption of Bitcoin and Tether as legal tender in the Swiss city of Lugano, the scalability issues of popular blockchain networks, and the potential of new countries to adopt cryptocurrencies in the future.
In early March, the Swiss city of Lugano, which is also an important financial center in Switzerland, formed a joint partnership with stablecoin operator Tether (USDT) to launch a CHF 3 million initiative to encourage the adoption of blockchain technologies and the use of digital assets.
Ardoino said that as part of the project, Bitcoin (BTC), Tether (USDT), and local loyalty tokens, the so-called LVGA Points, can be used by residents to pay taxes and purchase public goods and services.
In addition, the project has also pledged to create educational scholarship programs at three universities in Lugano, a blockchain summer camp, and the maximum possible amount of 100 million Swiss francs (107.2 million USD) to stimulate the growth of blockchain startups:
“In just one month from the announcement, working with the city, we created a working group that includes tax, legal, and relocation advisors […] and we were able to start onboarding 25-30 different companies and startups […], which between the assets of the company and the private fortune are estimated at between 300 and 400 million Swiss francs.”
Ardoino noted that these companies had relocated their operations to Lugano, both from other areas of Switzerland and from countries such as India and Singapore. He stated that they intend to “use these few startups as a template” to pave the way for others in the future.
Referring to a picture he posted on Twitter of a Lugano newspaper article with the headline “Cittá affamata di bitcoin,” which means “bitcoin hungry city,” Ardoino said that “stablecoins are the perfect trojan horse for bitcoin” as they can serve as the initial mechanism for acceptance of more complex cryptocurrencies in jurisdictions with strict regulatory requirements before research.
Asked about the potential for bitcoin adoption by new European countries, Ardoino said that “we are looking at other jurisdictions” and that some people in “parliament are interested in talking to us as they would like to learn how to create precedents for domestic adoption.”
He sought to highlight the importance that the vision of widespread adoption of Bitcoin across Europe cannot be achieved overnight but only through a bottom-up, community-driven approach such as the one that took shape in Lugano.