Argentines have turned to cryptocurrency to rely on their basic needs for fear of previous experiences related to the country’s economy. Three Argentine start-ups currently provide crypto-based transaction debit cards. One of these companies was launched in a Patagonian town where 40 percent of businesses take Bitcoin. Other ways in which Argentina’s substantial government participation in the economy has aided Bitcoin adoption have risen as well. For example, it is inexpensive to maintain an energy-intensive Bitcoin mining operation because the cost of electricity is kept low. Furthermore, some Argentines have been shifting to “stablecoins,” which are tethered to the US dollar and hence less susceptible to value changes.

Inflation is a constant worry in Argentina, with its annual rate at more than 50 percent. The country’s devastating financial crisis began at the end of the 1990s, when bank accounts were blocked and people’s savings vanished overnight. “In the pandemic, people noticed this situation, and to protect their money they chose to look for an asset that was limited,” explains María Mercedes Etchegoyen, an intellectual property lawyer and member of the executive committee of the non-government organization (NGO) Bitcoin Argentina. The government has so far taken a laid-back approach to the Bitcoin boom. However, the Central Bank has issued warnings regarding crypto-based scams. It has admitted that while crypto use is not yet widespread, it is swiftly increasing, which is cause for concern.