Cryptocurrencies continue to grow all over the world, including in South America. According to a recent study released by the World Bank, only 49 percent of adults in the region that have access to banking services. In general, it is very complicated to open a new bank account because it involves bureaucratic processes and high maintenance costs.
In Venezuela, for example, the number of Bitcoin and Dash users continues to grow. Indeed, the country has the most active Dash community around the world. Caracas is one of the cities with the largest number of merchants accepting Dash in the world, even more than countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany or the United States, among others.
Due to the economic crisis that the country is currently living, citizens have moved towards digital assets. This allowed them to keep moving funds without having to worry about hyperinflation inflation or handling large sums of money in cash, which was virtually impossible.
The luckiest individuals that were able to acquire mining equipment are able to mine digital assets in a profitable way. However, the government has been shutting down small mining farms and closing imports of GPUs.
According to Local Bitcoins, the number of Bitcoin coins traded by Venezuelans has been growing over time. Indeed, in 2018, it registered a record 1,974 BTC moved in just a week using Local Bitcoins.
The country has also created the so-called Petro cryptocurrency, launching in this way the first national cryptocurrency in the world. Nevertheless, this coin has not been embraced by anyone. Although the government imposed it to certain individuals, some reports show that in the end it is not currently working.
In Brazil the situation is different. As one of the largest economies in the world, Brazil plays an imporant role in the crypto market in Latin America. There are several companies and retail stores that are accepting different virtual currencies as a means of payment.
For example, it is possible to pay at Oasis Supermercados using Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Litecoin (LTC). Another transportation company, Viação Garcia accepts payments using these digital currencies as well. Some other firms accepting crypto payments are Fasttech.com, Plaza Hotel, and many others.
Colombia is also growing its presence in the cryptocurrency market in Latin America. Due to the fact that the country is located next to Venezuela and there are thousands of migrants from this country, the crypto space is growing in Colombia. For example, the country has 27 Bitcoin ATM according to CoinATMRadar, and the number of these machines could keep growing in the future.
There are several companies that are located in Colombia and are working with digital assets and blockchain technology. Additionally, several events have been held in the country.
Peru has also experienced an increased usage in virtual currencies during the last few years. Although it is not an important country for the crypto space, there are people that continue developing different platforms and services.
For example, Enrique Cardoza, the Project Manager at Bitinka, one of the largest exchanges in the world, said that there are individuals that support the space while others not so much.
About it, Cardoza commented:
“We can say that this is being divided into two camps: there are people who are very much in favour of promoting information and spreading the world so that people can learn. [And also] there are many people who know about this and take advantage of people’s ignorance.”
Bolivia has always been restricting cryptocurrency usage in the country. Indeed, the government does not accept cryptocurrencies and is against Bitcoin. Is one of the few countries in the world, including Ecuador, in which Bitcoin is strictly banned.
Chile had also a very active cryptocurrency community, but banks have been rejecting services to crypto-related companies and users. The most important case in the country is related to the crypto exchange Buda, that banks suspended its accounts without any previous communication.
Both Chile and Argentina have been hosting important cryptocurrency events and meetings. In Chile, LaBitConf has attracted thousands of participants from all over the world interested in digital assets and distributed ledger technology (DLT).
In Argentina, Bitcoin continues to grow as well. The market expands without any problems and there are no major regulations threatening the industry. The Argentinian central bank has been supporting blockchain technology and allowed companies to expand in the country.
For example, the Banco Masventas partnered with the local company Bitex.la to send and receive transactions to other countries using Bitcoin. Users can deposit Argentine Pesos (ARS), the bank would handle them in Bitcoin through Bitex.la and receive the funds in a foreign bank account in the local currency.
Furthermore, there are several companies that are located in Buenos Aires and Córdoba that are offering services related to blockchain technology and virtual currencies.
Moreover, there is a project in the country that is called La Bitcoineta. This is a minivan that goes all over Argentina and other countries in Latin America trying to spread the world about Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.
Uruguay, one of the smallest countries in South America does not have an active community as other countries. Nevertheless, the government is analysing the possibility of launching a central bank digital currency (CBDC) that would help the country move towards a cashless society.
Cryptocurrencies seem to be growing in many different countries in Latin America. In the future, depending on the policies taken by governments across the continent, the crypto space could continue to grow and expand.