Imagine being able to pay your Uber driver and Airbnb host with cryptocurrency while on vacation. This may seem like science fiction to some, but it appears to be a reality for users in Argentina.
Regional news outlets reported that the cryptocurrency startup Bitrefill was giving 138 prepaid cards to pay for various services. Frávega, Lacoste, Dexter, Isadora, Cheeky, Airbnb, Uber, Movistar, Claro, and Personal are among the companies participating in the program.
Bitcoin [BTC], Ether [ETH], Dogecoin [DOGE], Litecoin [LTC], Tether [USDT], and Dash [DASH] are the six cryptocurrencies accepted. To use the card, however, assets must first be changed to dollars or euros, then back to Argentine Pesos [ARS] to complete the transaction.
What does Bitrefill’s program indicate about Argentina’s cryptocurrency adoption? The solution might be found in data. According to Sherlock Communications’ Blockchain LatAm Report 2021,
“…66% of respondents were most 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.”
The appeal of cryptocurrency is also simple to understand, given that individuals in Argentina are legally prohibited from purchasing more than a modest and taxed quantity of U.S. dollars per month, as is the case in most other countries.
In addition, there are around 20 legal cryptocurrency exchanges in the nation, with one of them – Ripio – expecting to reach a million customers by 2020.
It is important to note, however, that the revenue earned through the sale of digital currencies is subject to a 15 percent tax in the United States. Argentina has a total of 12 Bitcoin ATMs/tellers at the time of the last count. Eleven of them were located in the city of Buenos Aires.
Aside from cryptocurrency acceptance, corporations are looking at the country as a potential location for Bitcoin mining operations. One of the primary reasons for this is the low cost of power in Argentina, which is further aided by government subsidies.
A 210 megawatt Bitcoin mining farm in Argentina was announced in October by Bitfarms, which is located in Canada and has a presence in the country. It is projected that more than 55,000 additional mining rigs would be installed on the site.
According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, Argentina’s contribution of the average monthly hash rate in August 2021 was 0.05 percent, Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index.