The Swiss municipality of Chiasso is going to let residents pay their taxes in bitcoin, its mayor has announced.
The community, on Switzerland’s southern border with Italy, is vying with Zug to be the country’s cryptocurrency hub. Zug, which styles itself as “Crypto Valley,” launched a pilot last year in which it started accepting bitcoin payments for municipal services. The pilot was apparently a success, so Zug has kept the program running.
Chiasso--sorry, “CryptoPolis”--is going one further by accepting bitcoin for small tax payments, up to a value of 250 Swiss francs ($261).
"Chiasso is recognised internationally as an epicentre of a growing technological and economic growth for both the canton and in Switzerland," Mayor Bruno Arrigoni said, according to local media. The move is apparently part of Chiasso’s drive to make up for contraction of the traditional financial sector after the financial crisis.
Zug’s scheme also caps bitcoin payments fairly low, only accepting them for a value of up to 200 Swiss francs. At the time of writing, one bitcoin is worth 4122.94 Swiss francs (and $4306.01).
While there may be something for these towns to gain by enticing cryptocurrency fans to set up shop on their turf, their caution makes a lot of sense too.
The value of bitcoin, along with other virtual currencies, has been particularly volatile in recent weeks, largely because of China’s cracking down on initial coin offerings (ICOs)--a trendy but risky form of fundraising that involves issuing new types of tokens--and possibly banning bitcoin exchanges altogether.