Argentina’s Central Bank Tightens Grip on Crypto: Industry Concerns Rise

Argentina’s Central Bank Takes Steps to Restrict Crypto Transactions, Prompting Concerns for Local Industry.
Argentina's Central Bank Tightens Grip on Crypto: Industry Concerns Rise

In a move aimed at reducing the country’s exposure to digital assets within its payment system, Argentina’s central bank announced on May 4 that it has banned payment providers from offering cryptocurrency transactions.

According to the announcement, the judgment brings payment fintechs and financial institutions under the same regulatory framework in Argentina. According to a statement issued by the monetary authority, payment providers will no longer be allowed to sell or make crypto services available through their applications.

The new regulation standard applies to all digital assets, including cryptocurrencies, that are not controlled by a competent national government and are not authorized by the Argentine Republic’s Central Bank.

Currently, cryptocurrencies in Argentina are unregulated, which means that all coins and tokens are subject to this ruling. On the local cryptocurrency market, this judgment may or may not have an impact. According to local media, payment companies declined to comment on the decision.

Argentina’s fintech chamber, on the other hand, has expressed its worries and asked the government to rethink the prohibition. According to the chamber, the limitation restricts access to a technology that provides significant benefits and opportunities to Argentine society.

The judgment comes when hyperinflation is pushing cryptocurrency usage in Argentina. For example, Bitcoin (BTC) achieved a new high in April when priced in Argentine pesos (ARS), with the BTC exchange rate surpassing over 6.59 million ARS. This represents a surge of more than 100% since the beginning of the year.

Official data from the national statistics office reveals that inflation in Argentina skyrocketed by 104.3% annually in March, following a 102.5% jump the previous month. Concurrently, the ongoing devaluation of the Argentine peso has further fueled the popularity of Bitcoin within the country. As a result, the currency’s value has decreased by around 50% compared to the U.S. dollar.

In the economic crisis, even cities within Argentina are turning to cryptocurrencies as a haven. Last December, the province of San Luis introduced its stablecoin, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar and available to all residents. 

Over 30% of Argentine customers use stablecoins for regular purchases, especially for smaller retail transactions under $1,000, according to a recent Chainalysis survey. This data reflects the growing reliance on digital assets to navigate the country’s economic challenges.

As Argentina’s central bank tightens its grip on the crypto industry, the effects of this decision will undoubtedly be closely monitored by both local businesses and cryptocurrency enthusiasts. In addition, the debate surrounding the potential benefits and drawbacks of regulating cryptocurrencies continues, with stakeholders urging the government to reconsider the restrictions to preserve the accessibility and potential advantages offered by these innovative technologies.

Also Read: HMRC Proposes Revised Tax Rules for DeFi Lending and Staking in UK

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