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The DFINITY Foundation’s new partnership with the municipality of Lugano will see the Swiss city’s MyLugano crypto payment app add support for Chain-Key Bitcoin (ckBTC), a multi-chain Bitcoin “twin” running on the Internet Computer (ICP) blockchain.
With the addition of ckBTC, MyLugano app introduces a multi-chain, multi-wallet solution, expanding the already existing possibilities of purchasing goods and sending transactions with LVGA, Lugano’s local stablecoin, Bitcoin (BTC), and Tether’s USDT.
Lugano is the economic capital of Southern Switzerland, strategically located between the metropolitan areas of Milan and Zurich, and has the ambition to become the world’s leading crypto hub. The Swiss city, which also runs the initiative called Plan ₿, has previously recognized BTC, USDT, and LVGA as “de facto” legal tender, with more than 400 merchants accepting all these three cryptocurrencies.
“We started to discuss with Lugano and its technical partner NOKU in 2022, with the purpose to explore ways to integrate the Internet Computer with the MyLugano app,” DFINITY Foundation’s founder and chief scientist Dominic Williams told Decrypt. “It naturally made sense that as a home for blockchain that the Internet Computer played a role in the city. Today, we are proud to launch ckBTC on the MyLugano app.”
First introduced in April this year, ckBTC uses open-source, verifiable and is described as a more cryptographically secure alternative to existing cross-chain solutions such as bridges and wrapped Bitcoin. The developers claim that by removing the dangers of third-party intermediaries and the hacking risks related to bridges, ckBTC is bringing true decentralization to DeFi and the broader blockchain space.
According to Williams, it also maximizes the Web3 experience of Bitcoin, making it easy to use and transact at web speed and neglectable fees.
“ckBTC is backed 1:1 by Bitcoin, and because it lives on ICP, you can transact it fast and cheap,” Williams told Decrypt. “At the protocol level, ckBTC is seamlessly woven into the fabric of the Bitcoin network, creating a dynamic interplay that redefines transactional efficiency.”
DFINITY unveils $1 million grant fund for Lugano-based startups
As part of the collaboration, the DFINITY Foundation is launching a $1 million grant fund for Lugano-based blockchain startups. The fund will support projects working on decentralized applications that run on ICP and leverage ckBTC to create open internet services that have the potential to benefit the global community.
“Considering its positioning as one of the fastest growing crypto hubs in the world, Lugano is driving innovation in the field of blockchain technology,” Williams told Decrypt. "These grants are intended to assist these startups in their efforts to improve, advocate for, and expand upon the Internet Computer platform.”
According to Williams, the grants will be awarded in $5,000, $25,000 and $100,000 bands, with the $100,000 grants generally reserved as a follow-on to a smaller grant.
“This partnership is an excellent example of our new technology combined with Lugano’s forward thinking in regard to blockchain technology to accelerate the mass adoption of Web3,” he stated, adding that Lugano is one of the world’s fastest growing blockchain hubs with “many exciting things happening.”