While used by organized crime, cryptocurrencies are also becoming accepted as a legitimate payment method by mainstream sectors of the economy in Latin America. Currently, some stores, start-ups, restaurants, hotels, and other online businesses are accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a valid payment method. Online exchange platforms are emerging rapidly and even ATMs have been installed to carry out transactions using digital currencies.
Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela are countries where the adoption of cryptocurrencies is rising rapidly. Businesses and individuals have found that Bitcoin can be more stable than local currencies. During 2015, earnings received by Bitcoin holders performed more than 400% better than the Venezuelan Bolivar, more than 92% better than the Brazilian Real, more than 65% better than the Mexican Peso and more than 41% better than the Argentine Peso.
The Venezuelan case is the most significant because since 2004 the country has applied a trade exchange regime, inflation has been out of control and the country is in political and economic turmoil. Bitcoin appears as an attractive alternative to the Bolivar in some sectors of the economy such as tourism and online retailers.
Click here to read the full article, as published in our Global media and Communications Quarterly.