• Argentina: The country’s first Bitcoin-indexed ETF debuted this week

  • While the media is focused on the rise of Bitcoin in El Salvador, another Latin American country may soon become active in terms of Bitcoin adoption and mining.

    Argentina reportedly launched its first ETF indexed to the value of Bitcoin this week.

    From grain to cryptocurrency

    The Matba Rofex group is the company behind the project. In a recent interview, Ismael Caram, Argentina’s Deputy General Manager of Financial Markets, explained how the country’s market traditionally held capital and granary-related assets.

    Naturally, the transition from there to crypto required a number of steps.

    Caram stated, according to a translated statement,

    “And the first step is to make a plan for the future.” To do so, we must first obtain permission from the National Securities Commission (CNV), and prior to that, we must create the underlying product or asset, in this case a Bitcoin index measured in pesos. Normally, the prices or indices are in dollars, but because we can only settle in Argentine pesos here in the country, we had to create an underlying index of the potential future product.”

    Why are pesos used? Argentina’s central bank has imposed monthly limits on the amount of USD that can be purchased. Furthermore, there are significant taxes levied on the same.

    Caram also discussed how developments in regulated exchanges around the world prompted the company to try something similar in Argentina.

    The index, which is aimed at qualified investors, will be updated every minute and has been in the works since August 2020. It cannot, however, be traded; it can only be viewed and “consumed.”

    Argentina Bitcoin

    The executive also mentioned the assistance of crypto-exchange Ripio, which is expected to reach one million users by 2020.

    According to a 2021 survey on blockchain/crypto-adoption in Latin America, more than half of respondents in Argentina were concerned about their country’s inflation rates. In fact, many people are thinking about using cryptocurrency to protect their savings.

    What about Bitcoin in general? Argentina’s President, Alberto Fernandez, speculated on the impact of Bitcoin on inflation in an August interview. Furthermore, he cautiously suggested that BTC might be a viable option to investigate.

    Not just for the wealthy.

    Recently, Argentine news outlets reported that crypto-company Bitrefill is offering more than 100 prepaid cards, allowing users to shop at a variety of different businesses in a variety of sectors. Frávega, Lacoste, Dexter, Isadora, Cheeky, Airbnb, Uber, Movistar, Claro, and Personal are among those taking part. Furthermore, six different cryptocurrencies are accepted, including Bitcoin.

    It is worth noting, however, that the cryptocurrency is first converted to USD/EUR and then to Argentine Pesos [ARS] before the final payment is made.

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