Argentina is slowly making way for cryptocurrencies amid rising volatility in its forex market. The country’s public transport agency has now allowed people to pay for bus and railway tickets in bitcoin.
Under an agreement the agency has entered with Bitex, a blockchain-driven financial services provider, people can recharge their SUBE (Sistema Único de Boleto Electrónico) cards with the cryptocurrency.
More than seven million Argentinians use the SUBE card to travel in buses and trains, and the service is available in as many as 37 major cities across the country.
Until last month, passangers could purchase currency for this smart card through PayPal. A home-grown fintech startup RapiPago is also reportedly planning to offer digital payment service for the SUBE platform.
Argentinians can now recharge their SUBE cards at national lottery outlets, automated POS terminals and any kiosks in their urban neighborhoods.
Luciano Verardo, Director at Argentine Transport Ministry, has stated that the cryptocurrencies will create “new possibilities of finacial inclusion”, according to local news media
Automated teller machines (ATM) that buy and sell bitcoins are increasing in number across the country since Athena Bitcoin, an American company, launched an ATM in Buenos Aires last year. Subsequently, Odyssey Group, another US firm, promised 150 ATMs.
Cryptocurrencies are not reliable and are vulnerable to volatile fluctuations. More than anything else, they are not backed by central banks.
Argentina and Venezuela are increasingly using cryptocurrencies, with high inflation and economic problems leaving their currencies extremely volatile and unstable.