After a few months of experimenting bitcoin payment for municipal services, the city council of Zug, Switzerland announced that the pilot program will become a permanent fixture in the city with possible plans of expanding.
Zug city council placed bitcoin payment system on a pilot program in early May this year to test its feasibility when used for municipal services. Six months later, only a dozen customers have used the program. They were only allowed to make train ticket payments with bitcoins worth up to 200 Swiss Francs.
Despite only a small number of people using the program in a town of close to 30,000 people, Zug city council is still optimistic indicating that that whole experience was worthwhile and it will be expanded.
President Dolfi Müller said, “It was worthwhile for us to test the technology on bitcoin payments. We managed to put a sign for fin-tech companies and express that they are welcome in Zug. This has in turn triggered a unique international media echo. That is why we decided make payment with bitcoins permanent.”
Bitcoin payments in Zug is available for trustee services, dentistry services as well as several government services. From the 11th November, 2016, the purchase of bitcoins is available 24/7 at the Swiss Federal railway. This makes Switzerland a country with the most use of bitcoins. Customers can purchase bitcoins between 20-500 Swiss Francs at train ticketing machines as long they have a bitcoin wallet and a local phone number, which makes it even easier to exchange cryptocurrencies.
The city council further stated that it will continue to evaluate other electronic modes of payments such as ApplePay and Twint. It will also examine the applications of blockchain technology.
Experts indicate that there are various applications of this newly implemented technology in the public sector, after all, E-Government and digitalization will be the central topics in the coming years in the municipalities.