In a recent interview with German business daily Handelsblatt, Liechtenstein Prime Minister Daniel Risch announced plans for the country to accept Bitcoin as payment for state services. The Prime Minister, who also serves as the country’s finance minister, stated, “A payment option with Bitcoin is coming.” Although no specific timeframe has been provided, Risch revealed plans to accept Bitcoin deposits and convert them immediately into Swiss francs, Liechtenstein’s national currency.
The proposed approach resembles the systems in place in Swiss communities Zug and Lugano, where local authorities accept Bitcoin for the payment of certain taxes and public services. Risch is reportedly open to allocating state funds to Bitcoin investment in the future. With the state’s reserves currently standing at 2.23 billion Swiss francs ($2.51 billion), Liechtenstein annually saves three times its 900 million-franc ($1 billion) budget, primarily investing this capital in markets. Part of these funds could potentially be allocated to the world’s largest cryptocurrency.
While Risch admits that “crypto assets like Bitcoin are currently still too risky,” he acknowledges that this assessment might change in the future. Liechtenstein’s crypto-friendly policies have made it a popular destination for blockchain and cryptocurrency enterprises, thanks largely to a supportive regulatory environment. The country passed the Blockchain Act in 2019, creating a legal framework for blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses. This law acknowledges the unique aspects of blockchain technology and provides clarity on how these assets should be classified and regulated.
Several banks within Liechtenstein are open to collaborating with cryptocurrency businesses, and the country is home to regulated cryptocurrency exchanges like Bittrex Global and LCX, both of which are licensed by Liechtenstein’s Financial Market Authority (FMA). Furthermore, Liechtenstein is part of Switzerland’s Crypto Valley, a hub for blockchain and cryptocurrency innovation centered around Zurich and Zug.
As Liechtenstein moves towards accepting Bitcoin payments for state services, proponents see this as an encouraging step towards mainstream cryptocurrency adoption. Critics, on the other hand, worry about the potential risks and volatility that could come with the inclusion of crypto assets in state finance. By converting Bitcoin payments to Swiss francs quickly, Liechtenstein may mitigate some of these concerns. Ultimately, the country’s continued embrace of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency could serve as an example for other nations seeking to establish a supportive regulatory environment for the emerging industry.