With peso tumbling sharply and inflation expected to surge above 40 percent by the year-end, bitcoin demand has increased in Argentina leading to installation of 30 automated teller machines (ATMs) that buy and sell bitcoins. The loss in peso’s value versus the US dollar has resulted in the marked growth of transactions in cryptocurrency.
There are no commercial ATMs in Argentina currently and it’s a right time to capture the market, Reuters reported citing Dante Galeazzi, Argentina operations manager for Athena Bitcoin. Dante Galeazzi also said that devaluation in currency has seen rise in bitcoin transactions. Investment in bitcoin offers an opportunity to safeguard peso’s value and an opportunity to make investment in market, he added.
Argentine peso has lost as much as 55 percent this year so far. The South American country’s first bitcoin ATM was launched in capital city Buenos Aires last month by a US company Athena Bitcoin, Reuters reported citing company spokesperson.
The cryptocurrencies such as bitcoins are virtual assets that were not backed by any central bank or even any hard asset. Bitcoin was trading around $6,551.18 to the US dollar on Friday at the time of reporting.
Athena Bitcoin already operates twelve ATMs in other South American countries such as Colombia. The company believes that ongoing financial crisis in Argentina presents a growth opportunity in the virtual currency market.
The popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin which touched $20,000 levels in the last part of 2017, has lost a sizable value as this year started. To date, bitcoin is trading below $7,000 levels.