Tag Archives | currency

Using Bitcoin in Argentina

Bitcoin in ArgentinaWe’ve previously written about Bitcoin, the digital currency that has exploded in popularity (especially in Argentina). It has become a way for Argentines to get their savings out of pesos and for expats and foreigners to take advantage of the blue rate.

As Bitcoin has grown in popularity, more real world businesses have started to accept it as well. Here’s our complete list of places in Argentina that accept Bitcoin as a form of payment:

Buenos Aires

Other Parts Of Argentina

Know of any other places? Let us know and we’ll update the list.

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Using Bitcoin to Get the Dolar Blue Rate in Argentina

One of our more frequent topics is on the “dolar blue” rate in Argentina. This is the unofficial rate at which the US dollar trades in Argentina. Yesterday it hit a new record high of U$S 1 = ARS $9.40. That’s an 81% difference to the official rate and a great reason never to use your credit card or ATM in Argentina.

There are a few ways to take advantage of the dolar blue rate that we have discussed before:

  • Bring US dollars and convert at the blue rate.
    Pros: the best rate available
    Cons: theft, counterfeit bills, finding a cueva to exchange, technically illegal
  • Use a money transfer service like Xoom or Azimo and get a rate close to the blue rate.
    Pros: legal, transfer from your bank account overseas, relatively easy
    Cons: not available in all countries, must physically pick up money, paperwork required, rate good but lower than blue rate

A new method has emerged as well using the relatively new digital currency, Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a decentralized currency and payment system that is not under any government control. Check out the video below for a more detailed overview (or check out this Bitcoin course for a much more in-depth explanation):

Ok, so now you know that you know what Bitcoin is, how can you use it in Argentina to get the blue rate?

Argentines are not very fond of holding pesos – especially with inflation estimated at 25% – 30% per year. And with government restrictions on purchasing foreign currency or gold, many Argentines see Bitcoin as an investment opportunity that is outside of the government’s control. Unfortunately, the currency controls also make it impossible for Argentines to purchase Bitcoins online with pesos. This is where the trading process comes in. You purchase Bitcoins and then trade them for physical pesos at the blue rate.

Watch this short documentary film, “Bitcoins in Argentina,” for a great overview of the process:

Ok, so now you’re ready to trade Bitcoins, right? There’s a few steps you’ll need to take:

1. Get some Bitcoins
In order to get Bitcoins, you need to set up an account and purchase them. We’ve found Coinbase to be a great site to do this. This may take several days to set up, so don’t wait for the last minute.

2. Find someone to trade with
There are a few methods for finding a trading partner in Argentina – the Bitcoin Argentina Mailing List, LocalBitcoins, Bitcoin Argentina on Facebook, and Bitcoin Meetup. The mailing list seems to be the most active, but LocalBitcoins is growing rapidly. Once you find a trading partner, agree on the rate, pick a spot to meet and trade away!

So, what are the pros and cons of using Bitcoin?
Pros: relatively easy to use, completely anonymous, high exchange rate, works for people from almost any country, no need to carry cash, no paperwork
Cons: relatively new currency with high level of price fluctuation, must find a trading partner, must meet in person for exchange, false bills

The biggest con in my mind is the high number of price fluctuations and crashes that Bitcoin has experienced, however I think this can be somewhat offset as the seller by buying and selling in the same day. The buyer holding the Bitcoins has a lot more exposure to these price fluctuations. As for finding a trustworthy trading partner, a lot of the resources above will let you see what other trading the person has done before, and be sure and count the money before sending your Bitcoins.

Are you ready to start trading? Let us know in the comments if you do and what your experiences have been.

– Thanks to this Reddit post for more info on Bitcoin in Argentina.

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Buenos Aires News: Edition 5

Fires Burn Over 1,200 Acres In Argentina [LAHT]
A state of emergency has been declared in Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego province, where more than 500 hectares (1,234 acres) of forest have been scorched by several fires, forcing the evacuation of dozens of people, officials said Sunday.

Argentine automakers to sell at cost, protect jobs [Reuters]
Argentine automakers will sell basic models at cost through state-subsidized loans in a plan to protect jobs in Latin America’s third-biggest economy from the global economic slowdown. Local plants of Renault SA, General Motors, Peugeot, Ford Motor Co. and other automakers will participate in the government’s plan to protect 150,000 auto industry jobs and to keep production from falling steeply next year.  Now this is an interesting idea!

Argentine Unions Want Floor for Peso Devaluation [Bloomberg]
Argentina’s union leaders want the government to put a limit on the peso’s devaluation, claiming that a softer currency will fuel inflation and undermine workers’ buying power.

Madge blows $1 million in hotel bill [The Times of India]
Madonna reportedly shelled out a million dollars on the Four Seasons hotel in Buenos Aires after she and her crew checked out from its posh premises. The megastar blew an alleged 9,000 dollars per night to stay at the hotel’s private mansion while her 200 backing dancers, singers, make-up artists, choreographers, managers and security checked into another 110 rooms – costing at least 600 dollars each.  Now, I know where at least part of my ticket money went!

Argentina Gun Swap Wildly Successful [IPS]
As a disarmament campaign launched 17 months ago in Argentina nears its end, the government and civil society groups involved in the initiative announced that it has far exceeded even the most optimistic projections, despite the lack of publicity.  The Interior Ministry reported that the programme, in which people voluntarily swap their firearms for cash, has so far collected over 102,000 guns and 721,000 munitions, all of which were destroyed.

Why Have So Many Restaurants Closed in Buenos Aires?  (english version) [La Nacion]
An interesting read, about the closure and pending closures of almost 300 restaurants in Buenos Aires due to the economic crisis. Many of these restaurants had relied on the tourist market and thus increased prices so significantly that they lost the locals. It will be intersting to see if the new visa tax that goes into effect on January 1 will cause a further decline in tourism and what the fallout will be.

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Argentine Peso Drops to Lowest Level in 6 Years

We reported that the Argentine peso was expected to fall to $3.80 against the dollar, and it continues to head that way – even with the government spending nearly $1 billion today to prevent it. The peso fell to 3.44 per dollar at one point today before finally closing at 3.39 to the dollar. This is its lowest point since December 2002. Fears about the government’s new plan to takeover the private pension system are one of the primary factors driving this decline. Lots of financial updates below:

 – Argentine peso drops to lowest in nearly 6 years [Associated Press]
Argentine Peso Rebounds After Central Bank Offers $1 Billion [Bloomberg]
Argentina’s Banco Macro Tumbles to Lowest in 4 Years [Bloomberg]

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