Imagine going on vacation and being able to pay the Uber driver and Airbnb host with encryption. It sounds like a fantasy to many, but they say it is now a reality for users in Argentina.
Regional news reports reported that crypto company Bitrefill is offering 138 prepaid cards to pay different companies. Participants in the initiative include Frávega, Lacoste, Dexter, Isadora, Cheeky, Airbnb, Uber, Movistar, Claro and Personal.
Users can pay in six different cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin [BTC], Ether [ETH], Dogecoin [DOGE], Litecoin [LTC], Tether [USDT] and Dash [DASH]. However, to use the card, the assets are first converted to dollars or euros and then back to Argentine pesos [ARS] to complete the transaction.
What does the Bitrefill initiative reveal about the state of crypto adoption in Argentina? The data may contain the answer. Sherlock Communications Blockchain LatAm 2021 report said:
“… 66% of respondents were more concerned with protecting their savings. This reflects recent inflation rates in the country: 36.1% in 2020 and 53.8% in 2019, the highest in 28 years ”.
Additionally, because Argentines are legally prohibited from purchasing more than a small taxable amount of US dollars each month, the appeal of cryptocurrencies is easy to understand. In addition, there are around 20 legal encryption changes in the country, one of which, Ripio, reached one million users in 2020.
However, it is important to note that there is a 15% tax on income from the sale of digital coins. At last count there were 12 Bitcoin ATMs / ATMs in Argentina. Of these, 11 were located in Buenos Aires.
Not just a shopping spree …
In addition to embracing cryptocurrencies, companies are also seeing the country as a destination for Bitcoin mining. One of the main reasons for this is the low cost of electricity in Argentina, with subsidies for it.
In October, the Canadian company Bitfarms announced that it was building a 210 megawatt BTC mining farm in Argentina. It is expected that there will be more than 55,000 new mining rigs at the site. According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, Argentina’s share of the average monthly hashrate in August 2021 was 0.05%.