Binance brings everyday crypto payments to Argentina

The world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange takes a major step into the Latin American crypto market, launching a prepaid Binance card in collaboration with MasterCard.

Binance announced that Argentina would be the first country in Latin America to get access to a prepaid rewards card, which allows customers to pay their bills and groceries in crypto. Currently, the product is in a beta phase and is said to become available “in the coming weeks.”

According to the official statement, cryptocurrencies held by users will be converted to fiat currency in real-time at the moment of purchase, delivering a seamless shopping experience at over 90 million MasterCard stores worldwide. The users will also get up to 8% crypto cashback rewards on eligible purchases and enjoy zero fees on ATM withdrawals.

“Payments is one of the first and most obvious use cases for crypto, yet adoption has a lot of room to grow. By using the Binance Card, merchants continue to receive fiat and the users pay in cryptocurrency they choose,” said Maximiliano Hinz, general director of Binance in Latin America. “We believe the Binance Card is a significant step in encouraging wider crypto use and global adoption and now it is available for users from Argentina.”

The pace of crypto adoption has been steadily accelerating across Latin America since El Salvador made Bitcoin a legal tender. Following suit, many LA nations started their own experiments with cryptocurrencies, hoping to attract tourists and investments. According to blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, Latin America has consistently captured between 8% and 10% of global cryptocurrency activity.

However, in terms of cryptocurrency usage, Argentina stands out even among its crypto-savvy neighbors. In 2021, the country ranked 10th in a global crypto adoption index by Chainalysis. Due to a highly unstable economy and a staggering year-on-year inflation rate of 64%, Argentinians were quick to explore the possibilities offered by the crypto industry. And the trauma of the country’s crushing financial crisis, which lasted for four years since 1998 and left many without their life savings, only reinforced citizens’ resolve to stay away from centralized financial institutions.

Because of the government’s determination to guard the foreign reserves, Argentinians face many financial restrictions, such as the inability to buy dollars for the purpose of saving or limits on foreign currency transactions. For that reason, the country has two US dollar exchange rates, a fixed official rate established by the Central Bank, and a black market rate, as the spread between them usually hovers around 45-55%.

At the same time, the government is taking strict measures to limit parallel exchange rate operations. Recently, the central bank announced new regulations aimed at digital assets, restricting those who have bought crypto from buying dollars at the official rate. Under such circumstances, a Binance card may be the only option for many Argentinians to get the US dollar equivalents, such as USDC or USDT stablecoins.

Previously, Binance already launched its Visa card, which was, among all, given away to Ukrainian refugees forced to move to EEA countries. Funded through Binance Charity, the Binance Refugee Crypto Cards received 75 BUSD per month for three months.