To conduct the purchase or sale of crypto assets at local exchange offices, authorization is not required. This restriction only applies when access to the exchange market is required.
The government of Mauricio Macri imposed an exchange control on September 2nd and, subsequently, the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic (BCRA) has continued to add rules. Consequently, on October 31st, communication “A” 6823 was issued, which led to a misinterpretation that is still confusing the population.
Government measures are aimed at preventing excessive demand for US dollars from causing a further devaluation of the local currency. Therefore, in order to stop certain specific operations that allowed obtaining dollars according to the official rate, the new measure came into force this month.
Communication “A” 6823 of the BCRA provided that, from November 1st, local financial institutions must have the prior approval of the Central Bank to get access to the foreign exchange market and make payments abroad through the use of credit, debit or prepaid cards issued in the country. Of course, such payments must originate directly or indirectly through the use of international networks.
The confusion arose when information circulated indicating that the measure prohibits the purchase of cryptocurrencies through credit or debit cards. This misinterpretation tends to confuse the population, which is why exchange houses and other actors in the Argentine crypto asset trade request clarification.
The new rule does not really prohibit the purchase of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies through credit cards, since buying them does not require getting access to the exchange market. It is necessary to go to local exchange houses or other means of exchange, as long as both parties, the one who buys and the one who sells, reside in the country.
The measure only applies when access to the exchange market is required for the purchase of cryptocurrencies abroad. If necessary, access was subject to the prior authorization of the BCRA, as indicated in the communication.
The opinion of Exchange Houses
Several operators of Argentine cryptocurrency exchange houses gave their opinion. In this regard, Juan José Méndez, Director of Ripio believes that it is necessary to clarify to Argentines that the Central Bank does not prohibit the purchase of crypto assets through credit cards.
Dante Galeazzi, Operations Manager of the cryptocurrency ATM Company Athena Bitcoin in Argentina, believes that the measure implemented by the Central Bank, to limit the purchase of cryptocurrencies through credit cards abroad, represents an opportunity for the local industry
The CEO of the ArgenBTC exchange office, Julián Arceo, states that something that has never occurred cannot be prohibited. He explains that Argentine trading platforms do not offer, nor have they offered, the possibility of acquiring cryptocurrencies through credit cards. Although there was no law to establish this, the financial institutions that manage the different existing payment gateways neither allowed nor allow charging their customers through credit or debit cards for the acquisition of crypto assets.
Recommendation of Market Connoisseurs
The connoisseurs of the Argentine crypto asset market agree that Bitcoin favors citizens, especially in countries that are experiencing economic difficulties. For this reason, they note that it is best for them to research, know and discover the opportunities that can be seized.
Méndez adds that in Ripio they trust that the regulation on the local FinTech ecosystem will help foster the development of an industry that builds the tools for the future and expands the possibilities of work and inclusiveness.
Dante Galeazzi recommends seeking information and understanding how cryptocurrencies work. He also believes that it is interesting that, especially in Argentina, there is no limit to acquire crypto assets, so they appear as an alternative to saving in pesos.
On this subject, Julián Arceo believes that in the face of the difficult time that Argentina is undergoing, it is best to take refuge in cryptocurrencies as the restrictions aim to prevent the flight of US dollars. In that sense, he assures that buying bitcoins at local exchange houses does not pose any risks against the system.
By Willmen Blanco