Argentina’s largest two banks to allow crypto trading

Argentina’s largest and second-largest private banks, Banco Galicia and Brubank, have announced that they will allow customers to make crypto purchases.

Bloomberg reported on May 2 that a resounding 60% of respondents to an Argentinian poll asked for more access to crypto, which catalyzed the banks’ decisions to begin allowing crypto trading.

Affiliate at market research firm Americas Market Intelligence, Ignacio Carballo, tweeted confirmation on May 3 with screenshots of Banco Galicia’s online interface that it had begun supporting Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), USD Coin (USDC), and Ripple (XRP) purchases.

The South American nation has the sixth-highest crypto adoption rate in the world. Data and survey firm Statista estimates that 21% of Argentines had used or owned crypto by 2021.

Allowing customers to purchase Bitcoin and other cryptos through their bank could help Argentines stay ahead of the crushing inflation in the country. The latest data from economic data tracker Trading Economics says Argentina’s inflation rate in April was 55%. Proponents say Bitcoin’s scarcity and decentralization make it the ideal inflation hedge.

Last month, the town of Sorradino in Argentina purchased mining rigs and planned on starting a mining operation as a way of earning Bitcoin to fight inflation. Its income from mining was estimated to be several hundred U.S. dollars per month.

Taking into account its high adoption rate, the mayor of Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, announced late last month that the city would begin accepting crypto as payment for public financial services. The city also plans to launch a blockchain-based digital identification (DID) platform for its residents.

Related: El Salvador Bitcoin wallet shows ‘strong sign of adoption,’ exec says

However, Argentina is not the largest country in South America taking giant leaps forward with crypto adoption. Brazil’s senate finally approved the ‘Bitcoin Law’ bill on April 26 which could help add a much-needed regulatory framework for the local crypto industry. It only needs to pass one more committee to be signed into law by President Jair Bolsinaro.

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