Switzerland City Lugano Signs Agreement With El Salvador To Enhance Bitcoin Adoption in The Regions

On Friday, the Swiss city of Lugano and the country of El Salvador signed an economic cooperation agreement aimed at boosting Bitcoin adoption in their own regions and neighboring states and nations.

The two crypto friendly jurisdictions signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on economic cooperation at Lugano city’s Plan B event on October 28.

While speaking at Lugano’s Plan B Forum on Friday, Lugano Mayor Michele Foletti said El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption as legal tender is part of the city’s interest in the agreement. The Lugano Mayor said the partnership will enable the city and the pro-crypto country (Switzerland) to develop a physical government presence in bids to build cooperation with educational and research institutions.

 Milena Mayorga, El Salvador’s ambassador to the U.S., also appeared on the stage, saying that her country plans to open a “Bitcoin office” in Lugano staffed with a new Honorary Consul to promote Bitcoin adoption in the city, Italy, and Europe. She said: “With this agreement, El Salvador is now much closer to Europe.”

Meanwhile, former Blockstream chief strategy officer Samson Mow also spoke at the event and said the agreement is the “next step” in nation-states and cities adopting Bitcoin. He described the collaboration between El Salvador and Lugano as the way alliances were created between places that have adopted Bitcoin.

Other personalities who later joined the stage include Mexican politician Indira Kempis, Serbia’s Prince Filip Karađorđević, and Lugano’s Director of Economic Promotion Pietro Poretti while former Guatemala’s congressperson and potential presidential candidate Zury Rios also delivered her speech via video link.

In March this year, the city of Lugano and Tether, the issuer of USDT stablecoin, formed Lugano’s Plan ₿ as a joint initiative to make the city a European leader in the use of decentralized digital currencies.

Paolo Ardoino, Chief Technology Officer of stablecoin issuer Tether, also appeared on the panel of Plan B Forum on Friday where he said Bitcoin adoption in the city is “working well,” with 40 merchants are already using the cryptocurrency with their point-of-sale systems.

Lugano, the 9th biggest city in Switzerland, wants to become Europe’s Bitcoin city. While Tether is already there helping her, El Salvador, which became the first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, has joined hands.

In March, Tether’s Paolo Ardoino and Michele Foletti, the Mayor of the city of Lugano, unveiled the plan to transform Lugano into the European Bitcoin capital.

Image source: Shutterstock


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KPMG Canada Adds BTC And ETH To Balance Sheet

The Canadian subsidiary of KPMG – one of the “Big Four” international accounting firms – has just confirmed the addition of Bitcoin and Ethereum to its corporate treasury. The purchase is said to “reflect the firm’s commitment to emerging technologies and asset classes”.

  • According to a press release from Newswire, KPMG included carbon offsets alongside the purchase, in order to maintain net-zero emissions on the relevant purchases. Bitcoin and Ethereum are often criticized for their energy footprint due to their Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism but are rapidly becoming less carbon-intensive networks.
  • The crypto assets were acquired through Gemini’s execution and custody services – a Winklevoss-owned cryptocurrency exchange.
  • This marks the company’s first-ever cryptocurrency allocations. However, it’s been involved with the industry in other ways for years, such as providing tools to help institutional clients provide crypto-asset services.
  • KPMG was also responsible for a 2019 study showing massive interest in cryptocurrency from Gen Z.
  • Benjie Thomas – Canadian Managing Partner at KPMG – called crypto a “maturing asset class,” and believes it will be widely recognized like any other traditional asset in the future.

  • “Investors such as hedge funds and family offices to large insurers and pension funds are increasingly gaining exposure to crypto-assets,” he added, “and traditional financial services such as banks, financial advisors, and brokerages are exploring offering products and services involving crypto-assets.”

  • Tesla and MicroStrategy are premier examples, having added billions of dollars in Bitcoin to their corporate treasuries. El Salvador is the first known nation-state to take similar action and continues to do so.


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‘The Demon’ Gene Simmons Accepts Bitcoin for The Sale of His Las Vegas Estate

The legendary bassist/vocalist of the rock band KISS – Gene Simmons – disclosed that apart from fiat currency, buyers can also purchase his $13.5 million home in Las Vegas in digital assets. Those accepted are Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Polkadot (DOT), Litecoin (LTC), and more.

An’ Outspoken Proponent’ of Crypto

The rock star, known among fans as “The Demon,” initially displayed his support towards the cryptocurrency industry at the beginning of 2021. Back then, he predicted that Cardano would experience its “most productive year.” At the end of the summer, the native token of the protocol spiked to an all-time high of over $3, meaning that Simmons’ forecast was quite accurate.

In August, the musician admitted that he is also keen on bitcoin. He revealed investing “a few million” in it and envisioned that the primary cryptocurrency would soon reach $60,000. BTC even surpassed the price tag, which Simmons predicted, as it tapped an all-time high of nearly $70K.

In a recent interview, “The Demon” doubled down on its crypto support by accepting several digital assets for the sale of his exclusive Las Vegas mansion. It is currently listed at $13.5 million, while buyers can purchase it in Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Polkadot (DOT), Litecoin (LTC), Uniswap (UNI), Aave (AAVE), or even a combination of the assets.

“I have been an outspoken proponent of cryptocurrency from the beginning. It is the future of money, and it just makes sense to offer interested parties the option of using cryptocurrency to purchase the estate,” Simmons stated.

The estate is located in the prestigious Ascaya community in Henderson, just south of the Las Vegas Strip. It offers a panoramic view of the valley and expands to more than 11,000 square feet.


The future owner of the mansion will enjoy six bedrooms, eight baths, and 11 attached garage spaces. There is also a swimming pool, a private bar, lounge area, tennis pavilion, and many more leisure facilities.

LasVegas estate
Simmons’ estate in Las Vegas, Source: Review Journal

The Record Purchase

Gene Simmons is hardly the first person to transact with cryptocurrencies in real estate deals.

Last summer, a mysterious buyer paid $22.5 million worth of digital assets to acquire a deluxe penthouse in Miami Beach. The deal represented the most expensive transaction ever to be paid this way. However, the name of the buyer and the employed cryptocurrency remained undisclosed.

The condominium is part of the building Arte Surfside. Interestingly, the penthouse on the top floor is owned by Ivanka Trump – the daughter of America’s former president Donald Trump.

Alex Sapir – Co-Developer of the building – asserted that deals involving cryptocurrencies are highly secure. He added that an increasing number of people want to purchase condos from Arte Surfside using bitcoin or the altcoins:

“There is strong pent-up demand for cryptocurrency transactions that are seamless and secure for both parties, and the deal at Arte is a prime example of that. We were overwhelmed by the amount of calls we received from qualified buyers.”


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UNIFY to Become the First Credit Union Allowing Members to Hold Bitcoin

By partnering with the bitcoin-centered company New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG), UNIFY will become the first credit union to offer BTC services to its members. The collaboration was also joined by pro football player Safety John Johnson III.

  • The announcement from earlier this week informed that UNIFY customers will now be able to buy, sell, and hodl bitcoin alongside their traditional accounts within the online banking platforms.
  • The organization has more than 260,000 members across the US, with branches in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas, handling over $3 billion in assets.
  • By becoming the first credit union to adopt bitcoin for its clients, UNIFY wants to “stay on the leading edge of financial services as technology, and consumer interests continue to evolve,” said the organization’s President and CEO – Gordon Howe.

  • “As digital currencies enter the mainstream, we’re excited to provide members a convenient, secure, and immediate way to access cryptocurrency alongside their traditional account services as part of our core digital offering.” – he added.

  • Upon purchasing $500 worth of BTC through UNIFY’s platform by February 14th, all members will have the chance to win a limited NFT collection created by Safety John Johnson III called “JJ3.”
  • Additionally, winners will be able to have a one-on-one Zoom call with the pro football player.
  • NYDIG has made numerous partnerships with large traditional financial organizations to enhance bitcoin’s adoption. One of the most recent examples came last week when the company collaborated with Five Star Bank to offer customers access to BTC.


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Bitcoin Price Rises As El Salvador Rejects IMF Call To Ditch BTC

Bitcoin started rising with the news El Salvador rejected the IMF request to drain BTC as a currency. In response, Bitcoin grew to a 14-day high price level, adding more than a quarter trillion US dollars into the crypto market.

Price tendency follows the pathetic month for cryptocurrency since March 2020. At that time, Bitcoin reached a price level of $5,000 due to panic selling off after the Covid-19 pandemic threat. After that, Bitcoin raised and achieved its all-time high price level of $69,000 in November 2021. 

But soon after that, Bitcoin started a downward journey, coming to the seven-month low of $33,000 on January 24, 2022. However, on the same day, Bitcoin began an upward trend and gradually achieved a price level of $39,000 on Tuesday, February 01, 2022, showing positive crypto market growth.

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Bitcoin Price
Bitcoin price met the $39K level today. Source: Tradingview.com 

Bitcoin price retrieval started after El Salvador declined IMF request to withdraw Bitcoin as a medium of exchange. El Salvador is the first country to do so in the world after many months.  

El Salvador Reaction After IMF Call To Ditch Bitcoin

The decision to adopt Bitcoin as an official currency was met with fierce resistance from many governments, but it looks like El Salvador is taking a different approach. Treasury Minister Alejandro Zelaya says that his country sees cryptocurrencies not just for financial transactions and investments but also embracing this new technological advancement.

In a local TV interview, he added by referring to AP report;

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“Countries are sovereign nations, and they take sovereign decisions about public policy. No international organization is going to make us do anything, anything at all.”

IMF reported many risks involved regarding consumer protection, financial stability, and financial integrity as reasons for not adopting Bitcoin. In addition, IMF added there is high crypto price fluctuation, and criminals can misuse it for their illegal activities. 

IMF had already warned El Salvador that its involvement in Crypto could cause hindrance from getting borrowing from international institutions.

Marcus Sotiriou, a British digital currency analyst at GlobalBlock, said;

“It seems that El Salvador may not need the coercive loans from the IMF any longer by issuing the innovative the Bitcoin Bond. This bond allows them to raise funds to set up mining infrastructure.”

A continuous worldwide crypto acceptance and day by rumors that Latin American countries are accepting Bitcoin as an official exchange source are significant concerns of IMF. 

The president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, shared a meme from The Simpsons on Twitter. Its caption read “I see you IMF,” and he responded with laughter at its parody nature in his own words.   

                   Featured image from Flickr, chart from TradingView.com


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Another American Bank Partners with NYDIG to Offer Bitcoin to Customers

Customers of U.S. financial service provider Five Star Bank will soon be able to securely buy and invest in bitcoin (BTC) directly from their bank accounts thanks to a partnership with NYDIG.

Five Star Bank to Offer Bitcoin Trading Services

New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG) has struck a partnership with American-based Five Star Bank to onboard bitcoin trading and virtual currency transaction facilities for the latter’s customers before the end of Q2 2022.

According to the announcement, Five Star Bank plans to integrate the full-stack BTC platform developed by NYDIG into its online banking service and mobile banking app. This will allow the bank’s account holders to manage their digital transactions via a regulated channel and negate crypto adoption concerns relating to decentralized wallets and key management.

The partnership will provide customers with an industry-standard and regulatory compliant service they can leverage to monitor traditional fiat assets and BTC investments, said both firms.

Commenting on the announcement, Five Star Bank Chief Operating Officer Martin K. Birmingham expressed intentions to bridge the gap between existing fiat-backed assets and bitcoin by providing customers with a secure digital solution. Birmingham added:


“Thanks to NYDIG, we are creating a safe, efficient, and more user-friendly way for our customers to manage their digital transactions. Customer experience continues to be at the forefront of our focus at Five Star Bank, and we’re proud to bring forth a cryptocurrency investment solution that will broaden access to this emerging portfolio option for consumers within our geographic footprint and, frankly, across the country.”

Sean Willett, the bank’s Chief Administrative Officer, added that the exponential growth occurring across the digital asset industry played a major role in striking the partnership with NYDIG. Willet also emphasized the importance of supporting an increased investment appetite for cryptocurrency.

NYDIG’S BTC Banking Mission

First Star Bank now joins a growing list of American financial service providers to integrate NYDIG’s features. Back in 2021, the bitcoin company partnered with California-based First Foundation Bank and internet banking firm Q2, to name a few.

Indeed, the latest development aligns with NYDIG’s ambitions to provide U.S. citizens access to bitcoin. CryptoPotato previously reported that the firm partnered with U.S. insurance heavyweight MassMutual. The agreement was geared towards exposing qualified investors to a bitcoin fund.

Back in June 2021, National Cash Register (NCR) announced its collaboration with NYDIG to allow 650 credit unions and U.S. banks to offer crypto trading services through mobile apps.

The bitcoin company also partnered with restaurant and hospitality giant Landry to launch a BTC loyalty reward program across the latter’s 500 locations.

Featured Image Courtesy of Five Star Bank


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Mayor Adams To Receive First Paycheck In Bitcoin And Ether

Eric Adams – newly elected mayor of New York City – is following through on his promise to receive his first paycheck in Bitcoin. Some of his salary will even be converted to Ether – the second-largest cryptocurrency.

The Paycheck Promise

The City of New York confirmed the payment decision from its official site earlier today. The Mayor’s paycheck will automatically be converted into Bitcoin and Ethereum when he receives it tomorrow.

In November, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told Bitcoin Podcaster Anthony Pompliano that he would accept one of his paychecks in Bitcoin. In an attempt to one-up him, Mayor Adams promised that he would accept his first three paychecks in Bitcoin upon assuming office.

“New York is the center of the world, and we want it to be the center of cryptocurrency and other financial innovations,” said Mayor Adams. “Being on the forefront of such innovation will help us create jobs, improve our economy, and continue to be a magnet for talent from all over the globe.”

The mayor will reportedly use Coinbase to facilitate the cryptocurrency conversion. In September, the exchange launched a service to allow anyone’s income to automatically be converted into any popular crypto of choice.

Their service is necessary as New York City cannot pay its employees in cryptocurrency, due to Department of Labour regulations. In a similar fashion, Mayor Suarez utilized Strike – the custodial Bitcoin wallet specializing in remittance payments – to receive his Bitcoin paycheck.


Paid In Ether?

While a Bitcoin paycheck was largely anticipated, Adams made little mention about being paid in Ethereum until today. This reflects his interest in the broader crypto sphere as a technological revolution, rather than just Bitcoin. In November, he called for children to learn about blockchain and “the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies” in school.

By contrast, Miami’s Mayor is more specifically focused on Bitcoin – especially for its non-inflationary properties.  He called it “the most verifiable and most trustworthy network out there”, and even pitched it as a tool for eradicating communism worldwide.


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NCR Acquires LibertyX and Integrates Crypto Services Into 750K ATMs Globally

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are one step closer to mainstream adoption as NCR Corporation, a leading manufacturer of automated teller machines (ATMs), has enabled customers to buy and sell crypto assets on its more than 750k ATMs and digital touchpoints across 140 countries.

NCR Acquires Crypto Firm LibertyX

The development comes after NCR announced the acquisition of ATM network company and cryptocurrency software provider LibertyX for an undisclosed amount. NCR initially outlined plans to acquire LibertyX last August.

The crypto software provider already has existing partnerships with independent ATM operators. This includes Cardtronics, which owns and manages ATMs in the United States at locations like supermarkets, pharmacies, and convenience stores.

Since LibertyX digital asset solution currently runs on ATMs, kiosks, and point-of-sale (POS) systems, NCR will utilize its capabilities to provide enhanced crypto solutions to customers through its physical and digital platforms.

The solution is available to restaurants, retailers, and banks through NCR’s digital wallet and mobile applications. Clients will be able to purchase and sell digital currencies, accept crypto payments, and conduct cross-border remittances.


Speaking on the acquisition, Don Layden, EVP & President, Payments & Network, NCR Corporation, said:

“The completion of this transaction enhances our ability to provide digital currency solutions and capabilities that help run our customers’ businesses. We are pleased to welcome LibertyX and its outstanding team to NCR.”

Crypto Adoption

Meanwhile, as cryptocurrencies continue to gain relevance, mainstream companies are getting involved and pushing adoption by making it easier for users to access, invest, and spend digital assets every day.

In August 2021, digital currency broker Voyager Digital Ltd acquired crypto payment platform Coinify for $84 million as part of its strategic plans to make such assets accessible globally.

Similarly, fintech giant Square made it easy for Afterpay’s 3.6 million customers to purchase bitcoin after acquiring the leading “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) platform for a whopping $29 billion in August 2021.

Featured Image Courtesy of NCR


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25% of Small Businesses in 9 Countries Plan to Accept Crypto Payments in 2022 (Visa Study)

According to a recent survey conducted by the payment processor giant Visa, almost a quarter of the participants across nine nations said they intend to embrace digital currencies as a form of payment sometime this year. Furthermore, 13% of consumers in these countries predicted retail stores will begin allowing crypto settlements in the following 12 months.

‘People Are Feeling More Confident with Crypto’

As reported by Reuters, Visa surveyed 2,250 small business owners from nine countries across the globe, including the United States of America, Canada, Brazil, and Singapore. Per the results, every fourth participant plans to embrace bitcoin or some alternative coins as a payment method before the end of the ongoing year.

It is worth observing the percentage rate in the different countries, though. Visa estimated that over 30% of the small business merchants based in the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Brazil intend to enable cryptocurrency options to clients in the coming months. In contrast, 19% of those in the USA and just 8% in Canada plan to do the same.

The payment processing organization also interviewed 1,000 American adults who are not in charge of companies, along with 500 more people from each other country. Nearly 13% of those 1,500 individuals anticipate retail stores to begin offering digital asset payments in 2022.

Jeni Mundy – Visa’s Global Head of merchant sales and acquiring – said many owners of businesses worldwide view the embracement of new forms of payments as “fundamental” to their companies’ growth. She added that accepting cryptocurrencies also come as a “natural evolution” for many smaller firms.


“I think more people are feeling more confident with crypto,” Mundy concluded.

Adoption Blossomed in 2021

It is safe to say that cryptocurrency adoption flourished in the past 12 months as numerous giant companies allowed customers to pay with digital assets, should they be willing to do so. Such examples include Croatia’s and Mexico’s largest supermarket chains – Konzum and Elektra.

At one point last year, even the major electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla started accepting bitcoin payments for its cars. However, the company halted the initiative a few months later due to environmental concerns.

Arguably the most significant example of such adoption in 2021 was El Salvador’s decision to officially recognize bitcoin as legal tender inside its borders.


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Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor to Invest 1% of The City’s Treasury in Bitcoin

Eduardo Paes – the mayor of Rio de Janeiro – intends to allocate 1% of the city’s Treasury in bitcoin. If he proceeds, the megapolis will become the first Brazilian city to purchase the primary cryptocurrency as a store of value.

Rio to Hop on The BTC Bandwagon

Mayor Eduardo Paes presented his plans at Rio Innovation Week as he discussed the subject in a lecture with the bitcoin-loving mayor of Miami – Francis Suarez.

“We are going to launch Crypto Rio and invest 1% of the Treasury in bitcoin,” Paes said.

The 52-year-old member of Brazil’s Social Democratic Party praised Suarez’s efforts to transform Miami into a cryptocurrency hub. The latter previously said he is open to exploring the idea of putting 1% of his city’s Treasury reserves in bitcoin.

While Miami has positioned itself as the cryptocurrency center of the USA, Rio aims to become the South American hub for the digital asset industry, Paes asserted:

“Rio de Janeiro has everything it takes to become the tech capital of South America. Events like the Rio Innovation Week come to strengthen the city’s image as the perfect place to work, live, and innovate.”

The possible bitcoin adoption is considered a massive step for the development of the primary cryptocurrency since Rio de Janeiro is the financial heart of Brazil. Its economy is also one of the largest in the Latin American region and among the fastest-growing globally.

In line with the bitcoin investment, mayor Paes is looking to provide a 10% discount on taxes when paid in the leading digital asset. Last year, Miami’s leader displayed similar intentions saying he would allow residents to pay taxes in BTC instead of US dollars.

Eduardo Paes
Eduardo Paes, Source: RioOnWatch

Government Workers in Brazil to Receive Salaries in BTC

Eduardo Paes is not the first Brazilian politician to express sympathy towards the primary cryptocurrency. In November 2021, congressman Luiz Goularte Alves proposed a bill to enable public and private sector workers to be paid in bitcoin.

“This Law establishes that part of the remuneration of the worker can, optionally, be made through cryptocurrencies,” the first lines of the proposal read.

According to the bill, employees would be able to choose what exact percentage of their salaries they want in crypto and what in fiat currencies. The employer must respectively agree to the proposed motion.


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