Zermatt, a ski resort town of 5,400 residents in Switzerland, has decreed that cryptocurrency bitcoin can now be utilized to pay taxes and other government services, Bloomberg reported.
Mayor Romy Biner-Hauser confirmed that her residents can now pay for an array of traditional government services using bitcoin. Broker Bitcoin Suisse will accept the payments through a tablet computer that converts the popular digital currency into francs, then transfers the funds to the municipal government.
Biner-Hauser explained that Zermatt’s plan to accept bitcoin grew from evaluating another Swiss municipality, the canton of Zug, also known as “crypto valley,” which began accepting bitcoin in 2016. She is eager to see how many bitcoin transactions actually occur.
“Everyone is talking about cryptocurrencies and blockchain, and if you don’t try it out, you don’t get smarter,” Biner-Hauser said.
As bitcoin becomes more mainstream, concerns remain about criminal uses of the non-traditional currency. The New York Times reported this week that bitcoin prices, trading and shopping are all lower, but illegal uses of cryptocurrency are at an all-time high. Bitcoin has also been a crucial part of the recent increase in ransomware cyberattacks.
“Dark web” drug sales are notably high, increasing 60 percent and totaling $601 million from January to March 2019, according to Chainanalysis, a blockchain analysis firm and government advisor.
One percent of all bitcoin transactions are criminal in nature, nearly doubling since 2018. Chainalysis’ new Crypto Crime Report details how criminal activity absorbs price fluctuations. Ransomware, tax evasion and money laundering data, however, are more than likely underestimated because of the difficulty in tracking the relevant data.