BitPagos Uses Merchant Processing to Bring Bitcoin to Argentina

(The Genesis Block) Argentina’s currency troubles have been well documented for years. With inflation between 10 and 11 percent per year for most of the past decade, Argentinians have actively looked to subvert the country’s strict capital controls and obtain alternative stores of value. Historically, that has meant underground dealing in USD and EUR, but more recently has led to interest in the largely-unregulated world of Bitcoin. BitPagos, a Latin American payment processing company in the latest class of the Accelerator, is capitalizing on that interest by adding Bitcoin to its processing options.

Argentinian interest in Bitcoin is a natural evolution for much of the citizenry. The country’s consistently opaque currency debasement has led to conflicting inflation reports, with some economists estimating inflation as high as 24 percent, or nearly 2.5 times the government’s officially stated rate. The devaluation of the Argentine Peso (ARS) has led to significant demand for foreign currencies, most notably the U.S. dollar.

The cycle of debasement and subsequent market selling of the ARS led the government to institute capital controls, limiting the rate and volume of ARS to USD exchange allowed within the country. As one might expect, demand for alternative currencies remained strong and developed into what has become known as the Blue Dollar, or USD traded freely (and more expensively), beyond the mandated rate and volume dictated by the government.