Nick Chong · 13 hours ago · 2 min read
Argentina, long a cornerstone economy for Latin America, and the world’s eighth-largest country, has been plagued by debt and diminished financial opportunities.
While this troubling reality plays out in different ways, one of the most obvious ramifications is the country’s inflation rate, which exceeded 50 percent in August 2019.
Like citizens in many other countries with fractured governments and fledgling economies, consumers are turning to decentralized digital currencies to help maintain the value of their financial assets and to facilitate commerce.
Recognizing the practical importance of cryptocurrencies in the global economy, Singapore-based Huobi Group, one of the largest crypto platforms in the world, is introducing an exchange in Argentina that will include a fiat-to-crypto cryptocurrency gateway.
Currently, Huobi’s OTC crypto service allows users in Argentina to purchase digital assets with Argentine Pesos; however, the fiat-to-crypto gateway will expand accessibility by enabling more buying methods for users.
Specifically, Argentinian users will be able to buy crypto using credit cards, bank transfers, and local digital payment methods.
Practically, this provides Huobi’s Argentinian users more flexibly when acquiring and using digital currencies as a direct replacement for the country’s national currency. With inflation driving up costs and reducing buying power, a seamless service can have a transformative effect on the local economy.
The move reflects Huobi’s broad expansion into regions ready for a crypto transformation. In June, Huobi announced an expansion into Turkey, a country with close to 20 percent crypto adoption rate.
Commenting on the launch, Carlos Banfi, CEO of Huobi Argentina, notes:
“Argentina is South America’s most promising market for blockchain development. There already exists a general consensus to break from reliance on the local currency and banks, and with Huobi’s entrance into the market, it is a great opportunity to move the needle on blockchain and crypto adoption in Argentina.”
Huobi isn’t the only platform expanding into Argentina. In March, Binance announced a fiat-to-crypto exchange, but, despite their early announcement, Huobi brought their product to market first.
Consumers Turn to Crypto
Around the world, consumers aren’t waiting around for governments to repair their economies, choosing instead to embrace digital currencies as a practical way to participate in the economy.
For instance, in Venezuela, where spiraling inflation rates are even more pronounced, consumers turned to Bitcoin to buy and sell the goods and services necessary to facilitate their daily lives.
As Carlos Hernández, a Venezuelan economist, wrote in The New York Times, “Bitcoin has saved my family.”
Meanwhile, in Argentina, crypto users are hoping that digital assets can help stave off the drastic implications of more fledgling economies.
Huobi’s fiat-to-crypto gateway can play an important piece in these efforts, offering a quick way to maintain monetary value for local residents.
In many ways, these efforts are reflective of the original intention for Bitcoin, which purposed to provide a decentralized value transfer system that operated outside of traditional financial vehicles.
However, as world events continually demonstrate, platforms have to combine these two approaches by offering a simple way for users to translate fiat into crypto. That’s the tangible need for users in Argentina, Turkey, Venezuela, and beyond. What’s more, platforms like Huobi are preparing to fill the void.