City of Wetzikon in Switzerland Launches Tezos-supported Corona Virus Relief Program

On Friday, the Swiss city of Wetzikon – previously known for its beautiful meadows and churches – launched a blockchain-based program to support small and medium-sized local businesses impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Worth 250,000 Swiss francs ($280,000), the initial aid disbursement will be funded with the city’s line of credit allocated to the coronavirus and will be distributed to about 25,000 Wetzikon residents in the form of eCoupons worth 10 Swiss francs.

Residents can access disbursements via a smartphone app, “ecoo,” which will use the assistance program as a pilot pilot for its platform.

According to their website, ecoo is designed to help entities such as governments and event organizers distribute allocated funds in the form of coins and points, and is built on the Tezos blockchain through a collaboration between Swiss Papers AG company and several subsidiaries of Farner Consulting AG.

In the app, residents can convert their coupons into “WetziKoins” which they can later use to make purchases at local companies. Local business owners can then convert the currency back into Swiss francs from the city administration, also via the app.

Ruedi Rüfenacht, Mayor of Wetzikon, said of the program: “In the current circumstances, it is imperative that we act for the sake of the local economy in a sustainable manner. With ecoo, we have found the perfect solution to motivate Wetzikon residents to shop at local stores instead of just buying online or from wholesalers outside our city.

Wetzikon is not the only government that has explored using blockchain technology in response to the coronavirus. Bank of Canada executive Timothy Lane has previously asked the central government to prepare Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) in an effort to encourage cross-border digital payments.

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