Bitcoin is the first and most broadly known cryptocurrency in the world with over 10 years of existence. Being available for so long now we decided to look into how it is used as a payment method in everyday life in Switzerland. Our research shows: There are still very few companies in Switzerland that accept payment in cryptocurrency. However, adoption is accelerating rapidly.
In Switzerland there are several ways to acquire Bitcoin. They range from stock and cryptocurrency platforms such as eToro and Kriptomat to online banking platforms such as Revolut. One of the easiest ways to purchase Bitcoin, however, is through specific Bitcoin vending machines that you can find throughout Switzerland.
Since 2018, the Swiss Federal Railway (short SBB) decided to offer Bitcoin purchasing at all of their ticket vending machines. All you need therefore, is a Bitcoin wallet and a Swiss phone number. You feed the machine with cash and scan the QR code with your Bitcoin wallet app and within a few minutes the Bitcoin balance will be available in your wallet. Although acquiring Bitcoin is made easy, the transaction fees are rather high.
Buying cryptocurrencies in Switzerland is relatively easy – so what to do with the newly purchased Bitcoin? Can they even be used in daily life?
Zug is leading the way for cryptocurrencies
My research shows: Even though cryptocurrencies are revolutionizing the digital world and gaining broader acceptance, there are very few places in Switzerland that allow you to pay with cryptocurrencies. And yet, the trend shows that more and more companies are willing to accept this new form of digital payment. Leading this trend is the city and Kanton of Zug. The city of Zug allowed payments in Bitcoin as early as 2016 and was the first city in Switzerland to accept Bitcoin for a number of state and city official services. As of 2021 the citizens of Zug are even allowed to pay their taxes in Bitcoin. Hence, Zug is the first Kanton in Switzerland to accept cryptocurrencies as tax payment.
The openness of Zug towards cryptocurrencies has been the reason for a large migration of blockchain companies, such as Ethereum and Cardano, to move to this area of Switzerland, giving it the name “Crypto Valley’.
Digitec Galaxus, a large online retailer, jumped onto the crypto-train two years ago and allows customers to pay with cryptocurrencies as of March 2019. And just last week, the Swiss insurance giant Axa announced that they will accept payments in Bitcoin. The reason for the integration of this new payment method is the digital transformation which was strongly accelerated by the COVID crises and led to a boom in cryptocurrencies.
Click here to find a list of shops that accept Bitcoin in Switzerland.
Is it all just marketing?
In the past years people started to rethink the use of cryptocurrencies. The broader market no longer sees the use of Bitcoin as a currency, but more as a store of value, similar to gold. So why do more and more companies decide to accept Bitcoin as a payment method? On one end it surely is a part of their marketing and PR strategy. Being involved in the trend of cryptocurrencies makes them appear futuristic and aligned with current technology trends. On the other end accepting payments in Bitcoin has its advantages, such as attractive exchange rates with other currencies and low transaction fees for transfers into foreign countries.
It will be interesting to see if people will actually use this new form of payment and if this will become the norm. We will certainly know more in the coming months. But one thing is clear: the cryptocurrency hype is growing here in Switzerland, and yet it is still a mystery to most people.
Animal lover, PR & Communications expert, tech enthusiast who loves short and concise sentences.
Stephanie is one of the founders of Blockzeit. She sort of stumbled into the tech scene by working for various tech and IT companies as a PR Consultant some years ago – where she also learnt about blockchain and its incredible potential.