Argentina’s central bank, the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic (BCRA), has announced a clampdown on cryptocurrency in a recent statement. According to the bank, payment platforms are now prohibited from offering digital assets such as Bitcoin to customers as a move to “mitigate risks.”
This new regulation affects a number of popular companies, including fintech giant Ualá and online marketplace Mercado Libre, which offer clients crypto trading. The Thursday statement explained that payment service providers with payment accounts are no longer allowed to carry out or facilitate transactions with digital assets that are not regulated by the national authority and authorized by the BCRA.
As a result of this announcement, major platforms like Mercado Libre, which is often considered Latin America’s Amazon, will no longer be able to offer Argentinians Bitcoin buying services.
Argentina, Latin America’s third-largest economy, is currently experiencing one of the highest inflation rates in the world. Last month, the rate soared past 100% for the first time in three decades. In light of this, many crypto startups and even a popular presidential candidate have advocated for the use of Bitcoin to help ordinary Argentinians save and potentially escape poverty due to the collapse of the peso.
It is worth noting that while cryptocurrencies are not regulated in Argentina, they have been gaining popularity. Blockchain data firm Chainalysis reported that Argentina is one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrency markets, ranking it at number 13 in its 2022 Global Crypto Adoption Index. Additionally, Buenos Aires, the nation’s capital, hosted the major LaBitConf event last year, featuring several cryptocurrency bigwigs like MicroStrategy boss Michael Saylor and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin discussing Argentina’s expanding role in the crypto ecosystem.
The BCRA’s decision to ban payment platforms from offering digital assets might be considered a setback for those who see cryptocurrency as a solution to the country’s economic challenges. On one hand, the ban aims to protect customers from potential risks associated with unregulated digital assets. On the other hand, the decision could be limiting the options available for Argentinians seeking to protect their savings from the ongoing economic turmoil.
In conclusion, Argentina’s central bank’s recent move to ban payment platforms from offering digital assets has ignited a conversation around the country’s growing interest in cryptocurrency adoption amidst rising inflation. The decision helps address potential risks associated with unregulated digital assets; however, it also restrains opportunities for ordinary Argentinians to protect their savings in the face of economic uncertainty.