From 1 July this year the small Swiss Canton of Zug will begin a world first trial in the use of bitcoin. For six months its citizens will be able to pay for public services with bitcoin. With a more relaxed attitude towards money, Zug has built an interesting industry around finance – now taking it into the digital age.

As a city Zug punches above its weight on the global stage. And here’s why. With 27,000 inhabitants and around 27,000 companies on its commercial register, it also offers one of the world’s lowest tax regimes. About 3% of the world’s petrol is traded, either as crude oil or refined product, through Zug and the neighbouring town of Baar. According to media reports ‘Few of the world’s cars, clocks or computers would work without the metals that are bought and sold here’.

The area has created a home for Monetas, EthereumSapphire Innovation, and many more digital innovators. shared its explanation of these three influential companies:

  • “Ethereum is a smart contract “everything” project the crypto community has been raving about for quite some time. It’s a complete Turing language protocol with a whole lot to offer financial tech landscape says its boosters. The website states: “Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference. Ethereum is how the Internet was supposed to work.” Zug is a resting place for Ethereum and its foundation is located in Baar. The idea of Ethereum is comes from the mind of a well known Russian developer in his twenties, Vitalik Buterin. The company has roots in Zug, Amsterdam, London and the United States. Ethereum aims to be a platform for developers that build unique decentralized apps for the new financial era.
  • Monetas is no different in technological fortitude. Deemed the the “world’s most advanced transaction platform” on its website the startup has some cool ideas. Monetas describes itself as a smart contract software as well. Using legal Ricardian contracts to boast maximum financial trades and executions the startup is making headway. The Monetas team also plays and resides in the Canton of Zug. The company was a winner in the StartUp challenge hosted by Swisscom. “Others have tried to deliver this kind of a service, but based on proprietary technology,” says Johann Gevers, CEO at Monetas. Zug is known for its steadfast supply of young entrepreneurs and Monetas joins in on its celebratory advances.
  • Sapphire innovation is another guest of the Swiss Zug region offering specialized financial solutions and support through its businesses embodiment.The expertise in this company is lead by financial executives using creative consulting restructure. Failed attempts by Keynesianism and Marxism continues to plague the globe with its tacky features, this Swiss area and its startups fight back with technological disruption.”

So how will the trial work?

The town’s residents will be allowed to use up to 200 Francs worth of Bitcoin for various public services, through 2016. After the trial period expires the town council will conduct an analysis to find out the benefits and costs of the programme, and will ultimately determine whether the programme should continue. If the programme gets extended other urban services could be included and the 200-Franc limit scrapped.

The Mayor of Zug is fully supporting meeting the needs of entrepreneurs. Dolfi Muller gets it right when he says – “We want to express our openness to new technologies…Our goal is to meet their [fintech entrepreneurs] needs for optimal development in our thriving environment.”

So it makes for an interesting digital innovation experiment. In fact the Canton of Zug is is building the world’s most glamorous fintech and cryptocurrency hub and many of the worlds innovators are carefully watching how this trial will roll out.


Brian Peters