Since last year, the number of bitcoin merchants in Argentina has doubled, according to the Financial Times. This growth comes primarily from small businesses, which are showing the highest bitcoin growth and adoption rate in all of Latin America.
Argentina, South America’s second-largest economy, has been restricted from access to foreign currencies and has suffered from an overvaluation of exchange rates, unstable inflation and complicated economic dynamics.
This prolonged exposure to economic instability has motivated Argentinian merchants to shift from fiat-based financial platforms to bitcoin to avoid frozen payments which sometimes are locked up for two or more weeks.
Argentina has also been a key player behind the rapid growth of monthly bitcoin transactions in Latin America, as more businesses started to accept bitcoin to avoid the volatility of Argentinian Peso, which inflates around 20 percent each year.
Currently, Argentina has more than 150 local bitcoin merchants, including hotels, restaurants, bars and resorts.
An owner of a budget hostel in Buesnos Aires told the Financial Times, “I was suspicious at first, But I took the risk, and it was well worth it.” FT reported, “She takes credit-card payments from foreign tourists in return for the digital currency. At the moment, she can sell her bitcoins on Argentina’s unofficial currency market for 50 per cent more than she would get at the official exchange rate.”
Joseph is a web developer and designer, writer and a passionate musician who loves to travel. He has worked as a researcher for a number of venture capital firms and as a freelancer designer for resorts and corporations in Korea and the Philippines.