The year 2020 will go down in history because of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the Argentine economy. However, it is also true that Argentina has suffered economic problems for decades with high fiscal pressures, devaluation of the local currency (the Argentine peso), restrictions on foreign currency purchases, etc.
In addition, events have occurred related to attempts to regulate the crypto ecosystem, as well as attempts related to private companies and the adoption of cryptocurrencies. Below we present a summary of the events that marked this year, as well as opinions of various speakers who lived it out of the ecosystem.
Attempts at regulation
There are two national level initiatives in Argentina and one provincial level (in the province of Misiones) relating to attempts to regulate cryptocurrencies.
A draft law by the Frente de Todos (ruling party) has already been officially submitted to the Nation’s Chamber of Representatives, signed by 15 national MPs. This initiative has the overall title under file 6055-D-2020: “Comprehensive legal framework for transactions as well as civil and commercial operations of crypto assets. Creation”.
On the other hand, the Argentine MP Ignacio Torres from the front “Together for Change” from the opposition sector also has a project on cryptocurrencies in hand, which, however, has not yet been officially presented at the Argentine congress of the nation. This legislature, representative of Chubut District, holds a series of meetings and consultations on this issue in different sectors.
These projects have also been controversially discussed and criticized by various sectors of the Argentine cryptocurrency ecosystem..
In addition, the Provincial MP Roque Gervasoni (Frente Renovador de la Concordia) in the province of Misiones presented a project to the Chamber of Deputies. Registered under file D-55787/20, it is a bill that theoretically also proposes the regulation of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. The initiative has another special feature: it provides for the creation of an exchange.
The price of bitcoin
It’s been a very special year in terms of Bitcoin price, especially in recent weeks. Bitcoin hit another all-time high, which hadn’t happened since 2017. It should also not be forgotten that this was a year that saw another halving that many believe was crucial in price.
Decentralized finance (DeFi)
Decentralized finance is a phenomenon internationally, and Argentina has also seen the dynamism and the different developments in this particular sector.
Opinions from the ecosystem
Cointelegraph en Español spoke to various speakers from the Argentine crypto ecosystem to find out what was most important this year. Here are the considerations:
Rodolfo Andragnes, President of the NGO Bitcoin Argentina
Rodolfo Andragnes, president of the NGO Bitcoin Argentina, said that in 2020 new projects have appeared in Argentina and others will be consolidated. “Not only did the stock exchanges experience exponential growth in users, who multiplied three or five times their volume, but also companies that offered services such as digital certifications or developments in the blockchain,” he emphasized.
“A very relevant topic in November was the national-level bills that were created to regulate crypto assets and that were heavily criticized by us,” he later added.
Ivan Tello, co-founder of Decrypto.la
Iván Tello said the most important thing for 2020 in the crypto ecosystem is its introduction. “The Covid and the quarantine have taught us that everything is virtual, purchases in the supermarket or when shopping are now virtual. The processes and even birthdays were virtual, but savings, investments and money are also virtual, ”he emphasized.
On the flip side, he appreciated that given the “stocks” and dollar-buying ban in Argentina, investors and traditional savers were discovering the possibility of continuing to buy “virtual dollars” from the hand of stablecoins, which in many cases are the door entry to the crypto world. “Then they discover all the solutions that this new world brings them. More and more people are losing their fear of the virtual, the immaterial, ”he noted.
He also emphasized “the halving (reduction of emissions) of Bitcoin”. And he said, “It happened in a year when all the central banks came out to issue and counterfeit their currency without support. It showed the cracks the system has and how the perfect storm bitcoin only favors the price further to increase. “
Gabriel Vago, CEO of ArgenBTC
According to the CEO of ArgenBTC, 2020 was without a doubt the best year for the crypto ecosystem in Argentina. “The different circumstances that happened over the year between stocks, the exchange rate gap, the quarantine closure and the unstoppable rise in Bitcoin price since March prepared a perfect scenario for hundreds of thousands of Argentines to join the crypto world”, he said.
Emiliano Limia, PR manager at Buenbit
According to Buenbit’s Limia, the exponential growth in users was the most important event of the year in the Argentine crypto ecosystem. “The reasons for this general growth are largely related to the complex economic context the country is going through. Crypto assets gained ground as a form of savings related to the devaluation of the Argentine peso and restrictions on foreign currency purchases.
In particular, he claimed that the introduction of DAI had become popular. “Since it is a stable coin that is valued against the US dollar, many Argentines have chosen to purchase it. The reason for this is that Argentina has a maximum quota of up to $ 200 per month, which comes with low interest rates on Argentine pesos and a historical Argentine preference for the dollar. So for new users, DAI is a good gateway to the ecosystem. In fact, MakerDAO, the organization that created this stable coin, assures on their official blog that DAI has become the most popular crypto in Argentina even before Bitcoin, due to concerns about hyperinflation from exchange volumes, “he said.
On the flip side, he talked about the rise in the price of bitcoin (which hit its all-time high of $ 19,864 on November 30th). “It caught the attention of the press and many people who had not yet entered the ecosystem and are now finding that the asset is consolidated,” he said.
Nicolás Litvinoff, director of Estudinero.org
For this economist in Argentina, the major news or events in 2020 has two things to do: operations and access.
“On the fundamental side, better access to buying Bitcoin was big news. The access ramp benefited from the development and implementation of P2P operations but was monitored and guaranteed by exchanges or a multi-currency platform. The proposals from Airtm, Uphold, and now Binance that one Argentine could buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, or some other asset by transferring it in pesos and the other person could send the crypto, is an operating model that makes it easier to access crypto assets. Peer-to-peer opens the door to the world of crypto assets for millions of people, “he said.
“From a pricing perspective, the consolidation of bitcoin as a hedge against inflation and the ability to have access to stable coins linked to the dollar as a hedge against inflation are good news. Beyond the surge in price, Bitcoin has shown that it is an excellent haven of value, especially for countries with high levels of repression or financial regulation like ours, “he added.
Alan Boryszanski, Lemon Cash CFO
For Boryszanski, one of the most outstanding milestones of this ecosystem in Argentina was the creation of the “first crypto valley of LATAM” in San Martín de los Andes in the Neuquén province. “(This place) has been transformed into a pioneering city that acts as a technology testbed for companies, startups, entrepreneurs, academics and organizations,” he said.
“With more than 600 merchants accepting digital assets as payment, Crypto Valley has a direct relationship with the city’s Chamber of Commerce and is supported by the local Department of Tourism. In addition, it contributes to financial inclusion thanks to webinar cycles and research agreements with various universities in the country. The Crypto Valley condenses many of the changes that occurred in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, exchange rate trap and tax hikes, which forced the massive adoption of cryptocurrencies as a store of value, “he added.
In addition, he said the new highs are an attraction for more and more people to join this world.
Matías Part, COO of Crypto Rocket and CR Academia
For Matías Part, there were a number of internal and external factors in Argentina in 2020 that helped put cryptocurrencies on the plane for good.
“When the previous government regulated the exchange rate in September 2019, there were major uncertainties that were immediately resolved by the ecosystem. The local exchanges had already listed DAI and the (incorrectly named) Crypto Dollar emerged, ”he said.
“With the change of government, the economic crisis worsened and people wanted to eat as well as possible by buying DAI without restrictions and with Argentine pesos. After the first quarter, the DeFi boom came with yields between 5 and 8% per annum, displacing the FCIs and fixed maturities, “he added.
On the other hand, the price of BTC, which is close to beating the new ATH, was also highlighted.
“I think we also need to highlight the great work the community has done and the exchange that this year has understood that the population needs to be properly trained and they have taken care of giving webinars and organizing ATP events. It’s clearly a hinge year in all respects, “he said.
Miguel Schweizer, co-founder of Quantia Capital
“The most important thing in Argentina was the massive arrival of companies in the cryptocurrency world. Although forced by the current economic context, the ban on remittances abroad and the purchase of foreign currency accelerated corporate takeovers significantly. They had no choice but to learn what it is about and how it can be used to secure values or to transfer them freely around the world, with greater efficiency and lower costs, ”said Schweizer.
Pedro Rey Puma, OKEX Exchange Community Manager for LATAM
“I think one of the most important things is the increasing adoption of Bitcoin, DAI and USDT due to the general growth of digital payments due to the pandemic,” noted Rey Puma.
“A lot of people opted for traditional mobile peso wallets, while others were first using crypto wallets or crypto wallet apps from exchanges,” he added.
For him, what happened this year in particular was that stablecoins such as DAI became the gateway to the crypto world for many users, when it was previously Bitcoin. “This is because a stablecoin is the closest thing people already know is the dollar (preferred safe haven currency in this country), only it has no restrictions and access to DeFi. However, it should also be noted that a large proportion of those who have become unaccustomed to digital payments even when they are in great need have been holding onto paper or cash more than ever, “he added.
Another major event for Rey Puma is that the population was exposed to a greater extent and that Bitcoin can be an option for the peso or the dollar to secure value. “Since Bitcoin was no longer worth 1 to 3 million pesos in just a few months”.
This led to a strong growth in new users, and from OKEX they also noticed this to the extent that Argentina – accordingly – became one of the countries with the greatest movement at the LATAM level in its community.
“We also need to highlight the presentation of the two bills that have been presented to the FIU and Congress, although I think they need to be changed and I follow the general dissatisfaction of the community,” he said.
“I also think that the legitimation of cryptocurrencies by state actors has a positive aspect, because if favorable regulation is achieved, it will be a great opportunity for the country to drive innovation and the creation of services based on this technology, otherwise it will this activity led to informality, ”he explained.
Juan Manuel Domínguez, Director of STO Managers
For Domínguez, this year was as chaotic as it was interesting in terms of the crypto ecosystem: “The acceleration in the interests of people who are not directly connected to the industry was remarkable, ordinary people who had heard of the topic at some point. from a friend or family member, and they eventually decide to take the first step at a higher rate than 2017 too. ”
With this in mind, he personally highlighted the increasing development of new applications with better “user-friendly” interfaces (ie, easy to use without technical knowledge), which have occurred in part due to the intense growth of the resulting DeFi platforms. this year. “It plays an important role in driving adoption by users who are just starting out in the industry,” he said.
“Although Argentina has always had an extremely active crypto community due to its socio-economic context, the economic conditions that resulted from the pandemic have been key to fueling this adoption as more and more people seek new alternatives to protect their value and withdraw it . from a system that they no longer trust, ”he added later.
Marcos Zocaro, tax advisor
For Zocaro, “the growing exchange rate restrictions and the devaluation of the national currency, while not a very fortunate event (or measure) for the direction of the Argentine economy, were the trigger for the adoption of cryptocurrencies as we hadn’t seen before”.
“The crypto ecosystem received new users and investors who discovered the technology as they tried to find means to dollarize their savings and bypass (legal) restrictions. And that boom also led to the emergence of new local crypto companies and the arrival of key players in the country (including major exchanges around the world), ”he added.
Abraham Cobos, Bitso’s cryptocatalyst
Cobos not only highlighted many of Bitso’s global events, but also spoke about the Bitcoin halving: “On May 11th, for the third time in its history, the reward for every block mined was cut in half. This fell from 12.5 to 6.25 bitcoins for every block processed (every 10 minutes). When Bitcoin was first launched in 2009, the issue per block was 50 BTC, only to be reduced by half in succession every 210,000 blocks, about four years, resulting in 25 BTC in 2012 and 12.5 BTC in 2016 . ”
“The halving phenomenon reminds us that Bitcoin is an extremely scarce resource and that its supply is increasingly restricted,” he said.
The most outstanding events of the crypto ecosystem in Argentina in 2020:
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