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Just a matter of weeks have elapsed since Switzerland’s notoriously stringent and risk-averse national financial regulatory FINMA issued a license to Swiss Bitcoin exchange SEBX and deemed Bitcoin a legitimate form of payment, paving the way for an entire network of ATMs and influx of Bitcoin related transactions, students at the University of Zurich have begun integrating a Bitcoin payments system into one of the cafeterias on campus as part of a two week trial.
The solution arrives under the designation of CoinBlesk, and takes the form of a mobile payments platform which utilizes two-way near-field communication (NFC) technology, and came to fruition as a result of a student development project intended to create an open-source tool via which Bitcoin can be spent.
Students at Zurich University will be able to fund e-wallets associated with CoinBlesk via the internet, or at a new Bitcoin ATM which is scheduled to be installed at the university.
Speaking to CoinDesk today, project advisor Professor Dr Burkhard Stiller explained how the marriage of technology is set to operate “The Bitcoin ATM makes the trial phase easier for people willing to pay with NFC-based Bitcoin transactions, since they can buy them locally” he stated.
In this installation, the ATM itself was manufactured by BitAccess and will be operated by SBEX as part of the plans by SBEX to host a national network of Bitcoin ATMs across Switzerland.
As far as the trial itself is concerned, Zurich University appears a shrewd choice, due to it playing host to over 25,000 students, in a nation which is internationally known as a center of financial technology and rock solid traditional banking. Zurich University itself has shown prior interest in virtual currency and its future, having conducted a study earlier this year on the collapse of MtGox.
Indeed, Switzerland’s perceived illiberal financial markets structure is being disseminated by the nation’s wholesale embracing of Bitcoin, which as recently as the beginning of 2014 was widely regarded as highly risky, the darling of illicit trading activity and the subject of disdain by many international jurisdictions as it threatens capital controls imposed by nations without a free market economy and equally rivals the sovereign currencies of nations with a free market economy.
The future for virtual currency and the technology which continues to evolve and attract investment from revered venture capital funds has been firmed up even more by this move, as if any nation understands security of investment, it is Switzerland.