Interview with Paolo Ardoino, CTO at Tether and Bitfinex

The Cryptonomist interview with Paolo Ardoino, CTO at Tether and Bitfinex speaking about Plan B organized in Lugano and the stablecoin of USDT.

How is it going with plan B and the crypto adoption in Lugano?

Following in the footsteps of El Salvador, the Swiss city of Lugano plans to integrate crypto payments and allow citizens to pay for public service fees or taxes and tuition fees in BTC. In the near future, the city aims to scale its efforts to enable citizens and companies to fully pay their annual taxes and all goods and services in cryptocurrency.  Part of this plan involves the development of a physical venue in the heart of the city to serve as a hub for crypto and blockchain startups. The Memorandum of Understanding between Lugano and Tether includes a number of initiatives in addition to the blockchain hub. Plan Foundation is a joint initiative between the City of Lugano and Tether, the technology company supporting the blockchain-enabled platform that powers the largest stablecoin by market capitalisation (USD₮) announced today a collaboration with GoCrypto to officially bring Bitcoin, Tether and LVGA payments to the city of Lugano. 

Tether, in partnership with a group of prominent companies in the crypto industry, is working on creating a multi-million dollar fund to help finance startup companies focused on building blockchain services in and around Lugano. 

Plan was founded by Tether and the city of Lugano, and aims to scale Bitcoin and stablecoin adoption throughout the city to positively impact all facets of daily life for the residents of Lugano. It will accelerate the use of and leverage bitcoin technology as the foundation to transform the city’s financial infrastructure.

Earlier this week we announced that GoCrypto payments will be available at nearly a dozen merchants throughout the city, including McDonalds, art galleries and more. Citizens can easily make payments in USD, Bitcoin Lightning and LVGA, using their wallets. Over the course of the next 25 days the city seeks to enable even more businesses to accept crypto payments. They foresee servicing over 2000 customers at the upcoming Plan Forum, the star-studded bitcoin conference taking place in the city on October 28-29, 2022. By end 2023, the Plan Foundation aims to enable more than 2500 merchants to accept Bitcoin, Tether and LVGA, three crypto currencies.

Tether is contributing its expertise, knowledge and support to the City of Lugano focusing on the education of the new generations through collaborations with local universities and research institutes, one example was Plan Summer School hosted this July, an initiative for university-level students to allow participants to work with leading industry minds on developing blockchain prototypes and deepening their understanding of the technology.

The strong focus on education also includes a broad debate on topics as relevant to our society as the right to privacy, inclusion and freedom (individual freedom, freedom of speech and financial freedom). This is precisely the direction in which the next edition of the Lugano’s Plan Forum is headed.

The conference bringing together world leaders, technologists, and entrepreneurs to discuss these topics that will be held on October 28th and 29th at Lugano, has an amazing lineup of speakers. Not only recognized specialists in the Bitcoin ecosystem such as Adam Back, Nick Szabo, Max Keiser or Samson Mow, but also fighters for individual freedoms such as Stella Assange, lawyer and wife of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; Milena Mayorga, ambassador of El Salvador to the United States; Fadi Elsalameen, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Bitcoin Policy Institute; or Farida Bemba Nabourema, human rights activist and founder of the “Faure Must Go” movement in Togo, among others.

The Plan Forum in Lugano will feature keynote speeches, interviews and panel discussions and offers a unique opportunity for dialogue with key experts in the field and networking with other participants. We are very excited about this unique event, which is just around the corner!

What do you think about the delisting of USDC by Binance and now also WaziriX?

The consolidation of stablecoins on one of the world’s most active exchanges foreshadows future competition among stable assets. It’s definitely interesting to watch this move as it could be aimed at taking out USDC’s #2 spot and replacing it with Binance’s own BUSD following Tethers’ dominance. Stablecoins are foundational to an exchange’s liquidity and their ability to offer fiat on-ramps for customers.

How is it going with the adoption of Tether gold?

Very good, adoption is growing. For those looking for a digital stablecoin that is not subject to fiat inflation Tether Gold (XAUT) is a perfect fit. We’re talking about a stablecoin that is based on a commodity that is scarce and expensive to mine. As such, Tether Gold allows holders to self-custody their gold-backed crypto. It is the leading asset that provides the security of a digital asset and the safety of being pegged to physical gold. Furthermore, Tether Gold (XAU₮) is the only product among the competition that offers zero custody fees and has direct control over the physical gold storage, safely held in a Switzerland vault, adopting best-in-class security and anti-threat measures.

What do you expect now with the Merge?

As had been long anticipated, The Merge did not fix transaction fees or made Ethereum any more decentralized. But beyond this, I think it is important to highlight that while Bitcoin is a form of money, Ethereum is stuck between claims of being a form of money and claims of being a platform. I think ETH cannot compete with Bitcoin on the money front because there is no fixed supply.