Argentina, South American nation has been caught in an economic crises with a predicted 40% rise in inflation by year end and the with country’s fiat currency, Peso dipping in value to as low as 50% against the U.S. dollar.
In lieu of this economic decline, many nationals now turn to cryptocurrencies especially Bitcoin, to cushion the effect of this decline and stay afloat of the current economic woes of the nation. To this end and as crypto remains its best bet over the crises, cryptocurrency ATM firms look to capitalize on this opportunity market; as they draft plans to increase the number of devices they plan to install in the country with the aim of offering easy access to crypto services and ultimately profiting from increased patronage as crypto transactions soar higher.
At this time, there are only two Bitcoin ATMs in the country which were recently installed on September 18 and October 3 respectively; with both located in its capital city Buenos Aires. However, by the end of the year the number could rise to 30 as more companies have expressed interest to take advantage of the current fiat plunge amid hyperinflation.
According to the Head of Operations at Athena Bitcoin, which installed Argentina’s first cryptocurrency ATM last month, the loss in value of the Argentinean Peso against the U.S. dollar has resulted in an increase of cryptocurrency transactions. In his words, Dante Galeazzi remarked to Reuters
Today, the cryptocurrency ATMs in the world are growing exponentially. In Argentina there were no commercial ATMs and the idea was to be first to capture the market. With currency devaluations, we have seen a spike in bitcoin transactions. We see that as a safeguard to Argentinean Peso’s value, as well as an opportunity to invest in the market.
Currently both ATMs installed by Athena support only Bitcoin, however plans are in place to include other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin.
Besides the U.S. based Athena Bitcoin, a few other firms look to capitalize on Argentina’s cryptocurrency ATM market, notably the Odyssey group which is also a U.S. based company. However, the Odyssey group looks to offer more than just buying and selling of crypto on its ATMs, they look to offer diversified options including embedding cash withdrawal and deposit options as well as money transfer between accounts. The U.S. based firm also plans on installing about 150 crypto automated teller machines (ATM) in Argentina before year end and about 1600 more by end of 2019.
Extensively, both firms and other counterparts have laid down strategic moves to expand these ATM services to other Latin/South American nations as the region is said to be under-served in this regard. From Coin ATM Radar statistics, only a handful 0.89% of the world cryptocurrency ATMs are located in South America even though they make up 5.61% of the total world population. Other potential markets to be explored in the region include Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Columbia with these countries having just two, eleven and twelve ATM machines respectively at this time.