While all recent focus in the world of cryptocurrency was on Venezuela and their cryptocurrency Petro, a country to the south has been silently making huge headways and growth. With a bad history of banks offering only limited customer access and their inflation rates booming to 47% in 2018, Argentina’s cryptocurrency market shows no signs of any problems as it has grown from strength to strength at an unprecedented pace.
For instance, in December 2018, usage of the peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins in Argentina registered an all-time high of ARS 9.4 million (Argentine pesos approximately USD 240,000) in weekly volume. And even during the crypto crisis across the globe, the growth of Bitcoin exchange has been consistently increasing since the 2017 token boom, when the peak was a “mere” ARS 5.7 million (USD 150,000). Now, this figure would only represent a slow week in Argentina’s P2P market in 2019.
Although Argentinian companies have also borne the brunt of the recent crypto volatility, surprisingly the local demand has been consistently increasing. This has been bolstered by the recent influx of Venezuelan immigrants which means there are suddenly a massive number of people who require banking services, financial tools, and remittance services.
Santiago Siri, who is the founder of the blockchain startup Democracy Earth Foundation and investor in several Argentinian crypto startups commented on this growth in an interview,
“The sector is growing, it’s growing very well. It’s providing a lot of jobs. People are using these technologies for real survival needs and finding themselves in a better world than if they had to trust the government.”
To illustrate the point of how Argentinian markets have remained largely unaffected by the global dip in cryptocurrency, Bitcoin exchange Bitex’s CMO Manuel Beaudroit revealed how his company has seen an ever-increasing demand for Bitcoin services from Argentinian banks and brokerage firms in 2019. Beaudroit said:
“They are interested in offering their clients the ability to do cross-border payments and remittances with Bitex’s services.”
This surge exhibits Argentina’s unique role in the Latin American economy and commercial landscape, where investors all around the world now recognize the country as a hub for bitcoin-savvy startups with limitless potential for growth.
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