On October 28, Michele Foletti, Mayor of Lugano, and Milena Mayorga, Ambassador of El Salvador to the United States, announced that the City of Lugano and the Republic of El Salvador have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Economic cooperation. The announcement was made during the inaugural Plan B forum, an event attended by leading international experts from the bitcoin and blockchain world.
We interviewed Michele Foletti, the mayor of the Swiss city of Lugano, and learned the details firsthand.
Hello, guys! So we are now in Lugano with the Mayor of Lugano, Michele Foletti. Glad to have you here, Michele.
Great to be there.
We are now in the Plan B Conference. And the city of Lugano is the first city in the world, which adopted crypto as a legal tender, following the steps of El Salvador. How did you discover crypto first? What was your first impression about bitcoin?
So, the mayor discovered crypto gradually: first, through the city payment token called The LUGA, which is a payment token. That has become quite popular in Lugano and that was really the first step and from that time onwards we explore, further explore the crypto world. Last year we met Paul Arduino from Tether and with him we started the discussion that led to the adoption of Plan B.
Why did this initiative Plan B started and what are your future plans for it, why do you see crypto as valuable to be the legal terms?
The legal tender is being implemented gradually, on a gradual basis. Here to be very precise, it’s a de facto legal tender, in practice legal tender. What it means in practice is that the city will start accepting payments, also in Bitcoin, in Tether, and in Luga and eventually throughout 2023 it will be possible to pay everything that you have to pay to the city as a citizen, also in those three cryptocurrencies. So, it is a gradual approach. Plan B is therefore being implemented, a lot has already been accomplished. And the next big step is the opening of the hub, a building in the city center that will be Plan very recognizable on the same place in Lugano and that will host companies, startups and more mature companies, active in Bitcoin and blockchain technology. And this inauguration, this opening of the hub will most likely happen in the first quarter of next year 2023.
And today you had big announcements at the start of your cooperation with El Salvador and El Salvador started the office as well in Lugano. Can you tell more about this?
Both Lugano and El Salvador are pioneers in different ways. First of course, El Salvador started earlier than Lugano has implemented a full legal tender. Lugano took a different approach, we mentioned the de facto legal tender and what it means of course, but through this collaboration both Lugano and Salvador will able to exchange experiences which we think is very very important as we are still at an early stage certainly of adoption: exchange experiences, exchange best practices and therefore mutually also benefit from this collaboration.
Great! Thank you for the interview and sharing your experience with us and it is so great to see such a government official as you, which pushes the mass adoption of crypto forwards.
Thank you for being there and speaking about Plan B. Thank you!