Last updated on January 2nd, 2018 at 12:00 am
From an autocratic leadership that rocked the country’s infrastructure like a dark storm to bright achievements in the field of arts, sciences and, of course, sports: Argentina has been through a lot. But the passionate citizens of Argentina, especially the people of Buenos Aires, are always there to welcome you with an open heart.
Take the example of La Boca, where you will be greeted with music and rhythmic tango, while passing through its colorful tin homes.
In recent times, the Argentinian people have been raising their voice demanding more solidity against the haze of high inflation. Now that they have dug open the government’s attempt to hide away the country’s true inflation rate and create an elusive economic growth, people are realizing their currency is not worth as much as they thought it was.
People are accepting Bitcoin for change
Sensing a financial disaster, the Argentines have found it is extremely difficult to convert their currency into a stable currency. Exchanging currency is illegal in the country, unless you are going on a trip. And even if you do file an application before traveling, your currency exchange request still faces possible rejection. Also, there are only a few lucky citizens that can afford to travel overseas. And a 35% tax charge on any purchase outside the country using an Argentinian credit card is just like adding insult to injury. Every year people see the value of their wealth dropping around 25% due to steep inflation.
It makes us wonder: what are the options of the Argentinian people in terms of preserving the value of their possessions and savings? Well, many small businesses have already turned to an alternative option. Merchants have started accepting Bitcoin to avoid economic anguish. With all these factors under consideration, the buildup of a Bitcoin community in Buenos Aires is definitely a unique process, different from what is happening in other parts of the world.
Because Buenos Aires acts as a junction for some of the major economic regions that form the world economy, it is classified as an alpha city. In other words, the city is the economic capital of the country.
The spread of technology in the country is impressive, with 77% of the people owning mobile phones and 68% people enjoying from internet connection (the highest percentage in Latin America). Combine that with a 96% literacy rate and you got yourself a pretty amazing community. It’s no wonder the citizens of Buenos Aires have found an alternative to their traditional financial system.
Due to the continuous downfall of the peso (the Argentinian national currency), people who deposited fiat currency and got loans in US dollars from the local banks were not able to pay back. But there are some positives signs, as Argentina is today one of the most attractive destination for tourists in Latin America.
Tourism has become one of the key activities in Argentina as it contributes to 60% of the country’s economy. The number of tourists encouraged to pay in Bitcoin is increasing due to the high taxation on the income. Bitcoin will be even more favored in Latin America as money regulations get tighter.
One of the Bitcoin startups in Argentina making the most of this process is BITPagos. The company collects BTC from tourists and pays their suppliers back in Bitcoins. It’s been confirmed that the use of their service by the merchants (in restaurants and boarding houses) has spiked in recent times.
Bitcoin movement in Argentina
The Bitcoin community in Buenos Aires is certainly headed in the right direction with the hosting of the first ever annual Bitcoin Conference of Latin America in December. Genesis Block published a report saying that the number of people who attended the conference was massive, only falling behind events held in the United States, Canada and Israel.
Future of Bitcoin in Argentina
The president of the Argentine Bitcoin Foundation, Diego Gutierrez Zaldivar, expects a bright future for Bitcoin in the country. With almost 400 people currently using Bitcoin and 4,000 in line to acquire cryptocurrency, Diego hopes to keep integrating Bitcoin into the Argentinian economy. The Bitcoin conference certainly had a positive impact on the passionate citizens of Argentina. And with that passion, the local Bitcoin community will surely thrive.