Plan B for cryptocurrency payments

Thousands of bitcoin enthusiasts and cryptocurrency enthusiasts flocked to the Swiss town of Lugano over the weekend. More specifically, they gathered at a McDonald’s restaurant.

McDonald’s Lugano, located on Lake Lugano, has been visited by countless Bitcoin enthusiasts who are keen to trade Bitcoin (the smallest denomination of Bitcoin) for Big Macs, McWhirlwinds and coffee.

But why are European crypto enthusiasts excited to pay in Bitcoin (BTC) at one of the world’s most recognizable brands? Well, first to show the Lightning Network, a layer 2 technology built on top of Bitcoin — and also to deliver on Satoshi Nakamoto’s promise that Bitcoin is actually an electronic cash system.

McDonald’s orders are paid for with #Bitcoin via the Lightning Network.

Went for the Saifedean style order.

— ₿ Gandalf (@BTCGandalf) October 27, 2022

Tether CTO Paolo Ardoino told Cointelegraph that the entire McDonald’s team was educated and joined the Bitcoin network just days before the major European Bitcoin and Blockchain conference.

The Italian expat gave Cointelegraph an overview of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency adoption in Lugano, joking that the hands-on process of educating merchants on how to embrace crypto can be time-consuming: “At McDonald’s, we spent a week because they had A lot of people work there.”

Ardoino’s company Tether has drawn up an extensive plan for the Italian-speaking Switzerland’s economic capital to adopt bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. What started as a plan for citizens to pay taxes in cryptocurrency has morphed into a summer school called Plan B, a conference called the Plan B Forum and Crypto Merchant Adoption — spearheaded by McDonald’s.

Cointelegraph surveyed Bitcoin and cryptocurrency merchant adoption to better understand how countries, regions, or, in this case, cities can adopt cryptocurrency in a meaningful way. For example, is it possible to live in cryptocurrency in Lugano?

Over 60 merchants accept cryptocurrencies in Lugano.Source: Plan B

Ardoino explained that the Plan B team has recruited more than 60 merchants to accept cryptocurrency over the past few months, but the growth of merchants and cryptocurrency payments has really started to accelerate:

“Basically, it took us 30 merchants to get to the first 600 transactions. But in the past five days alone, we have 600 people”

The team for Plan B intends to have 1,000 crypto-accepting merchants reach their goal by the second quarter of 2022. “We have a business team that will run across the city,” Ardoino explained. The team will join a growing number of merchants to ensure Lugano is the best place to spend crypto in Europe.

Unlike El Salvador’s top-down approach to bitcoin, in which the president declared bitcoin legal tender and reportedly offered little hands-on educational assistance to locals, Plan B had a lavish team of onboarding staff.

In fact, Tether and Plan B have resources to guide merchants through the cryptocurrency onboarding process. Additionally, they were able to receive feedback from merchants and update their systems accordingly, Ardoino shared:

“And, the problem is maintenance. We install [the point-of-sale solutions], and then we would have someone check in periodically and say, ‘Okay, you have a problem. Get feedback and more because you know, otherwise you’ll never work. ‘”

Sure enough, on the first day of the Plan B meeting, there was a problem with the payment terminal at Chef Mauro’s on-site pizzeria. The Plan B team was quick to correct the situation. At Cointelegraph’s hotel, the receptionist said upon arrival that they would start accepting cryptocurrency payments the next day. Cointelegraph endured a full day of fiat payments and, as promised, the hotel’s point-of-sale solution went live.

Plan B payment terminal.Source: Plan B

All Plan B merchants accept payments via color payment terminals in LVGA Token, Bitcoin Lightning and Tether (USDT). LVGA is a stablecoin proxy for the Swiss franc, available to local residents.

The merchant partnership is a collaboration between cryptocurrency payments company Go Crypto and Tether. Curiously, Ardoino told Cointelegraph that so far, not a single merchant has rejected the opportunity to accept crypto. For example, the experience is in stark contrast to cryptocurrency merchant adoption in the UK. Adoino explained:

“If your neighbor has it and he starts getting more people to walk around and pay, you know, people can get over their prejudice. It’s easier for people to get over their prejudice when it comes to money.”

Cointelegraph managed to make a living in cryptocurrencies during its stay in the Swiss city, with one exception: not a single pharmacy accepts cryptocurrencies (currently). So if you plan to visit Lugano, don’t forget your toothbrush.

Source of information: Compiled from COINTELEGRAPH by 0x information.The copyright belongs to the author Joseph Hall and may not be reproduced without permission

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