Gaming Market Insights Series #12: Big cryptocurrency world in Argentina

Argentina faces challenges that are no peculiar to numerous developing markets — abundant unbanked or underbanked population coupled with regulatory restrictions. However, Argentina also claims a number of distinct advantages — a highly developed telecommunications infrastructure and a concomitant high level of mobile device penetration, which altogether pave the way for an emerging mobile payment ecosystem.

Argentine Mobile Payment Transaction Value from 2014–2010

Source: Statista Argentina 2015

The ubiquity of mobile phones in Argentina facilitates mobile payment as a vehicle to tackle the massive underbanked or unbanked population in the country. In 2016, transaction value in the “Mobile Payment” segment mounts to US$103m and is expected to reach an annual growth rate (CAGR) of 99.6 % between 2016–2020. This will in turn generate a total value of US$1,635m and 2.8 million users by 2020.

Bitcoin market in Argentina

Cryptocurrency is considered the new haven for traders and business people to secure their assets. Argentina has suffered numerous bouts of inflation, and even hyperinflation rising to as high as 20,000% in the late 1980s. Things are improving these days, but inflation is still expected to hit 40% by the end of the year. Consistently high inflation rates and stringent currency control policies created a perfect storm for the uptake of the digital currency and bitcoin in particular in Argentina.

The country hosts the largest Bitcoin community, to date, vs. the rest of Latin America. Compared with last year the cryptocurrency community has grown by 20 ~ 30 percent. Following the swearing in by December 2015 of the newly elected president Mauricio Macri and loosened currency controls, the government has turned more pro-startups, which fosters stronger adoption of Bitcoin especially thanks to global applications such as the ride-sharing platform of Uber. Argentina has seen the liquidity of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies improve recently, which promises a brighter vision for cryptocurrency and blockchain industry in the country.

Future outlook

Argentinians are gradually embracing and putting Bitcoin into quotidian usage, such as Xapo which provides the ideal alternative to payment and convenience. However still the liquidity of Bitcoin vs. fiat currency, struggling fiscal policies as well as prolonged economic downtime pose challenges to the idiosyncratic cryptocurrency, blockchain-based and blockchain-based gambling industry in Argentina. Economic optimists still have high hopes for Argentina since the startups and entrepreneurs in the country are now sparing numerous efforts in coming up with new business solutions and initiatives. This, in turn, will fetch some bright colors to the nascent mobile and crypto-economy of the country of Tango in the long run.

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