- The Prime Minister of Liechtenstein wants citizens to be able to pay for government services in bitcoin
- Daniel Risch told the German newspaper Handelsblatt that no plans were yet in place to allow this
- America has tried to facilitate such payments but it hasn’t panned out
The Prime Minister of Liechtenstein wants citizens to be able to pay for government services in bitcoin, although no firm plans are in place to allow this as yet. Daniel Risch told German business newspaper Handelsblatt that “A payment option in bitcoin is coming,” but did not give a specific timetable. While not giving too much more way, Risch proceeded to explain that the country plans to start accepting Bitcoin as payment for government services, payments which would be converted into the country’s official currency, the Swiss franc. Liechtenstein has emerged as one of a handful of pro-crypto nations in the world, having catered catering to the growing market for crypto banking and investment services in recent years.
An Actual Crypto Hub
Liechtenstein has been a traditional financial hub for decades, and in recent years it has sought to establish dominion as a crypto hub too. It was one of the first countries to establish blockchain regulations in 2019 through the Liechtenstein Blockchain Act. Lichtenstein’s Bank Frick was also one of the first banks to allow Swiss cryptocurrency companies access to the global banking network, introducing cold storage services and direct crypto investment for Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Bitcoin Cash users at a time when this was simply not even being considered by other banks.
The idea of allowing citizens to pay for government services through Bitcoin is more symbolic than it is practical, with the uptake expected to be low. It will however show the public, and the world, that it believes Bitcoin to be a form of money on equal par with fiat currencies.
Don’t Look to America
If and when Liechtensteiners are able to carry out Prime Minister Risch’s dreams, they will want to fare better than America’s attempts at the same thing. In January 2019, the state of Ohio launched a platform for businesses to pay their taxes in bitcoin but this was pulled after just 10 months when only a handful of companies used it.
A year later, lawmakers in New Hampshire voted down a much-vaunted bill to allow state agencies to accept cryptocurrencies for tax payments, meaning that Liechtenstein might have to be a trailblazer in this regard.