Argentina new bill seeks to regulate digital currency industry

An Argentinian lawmaker is expected to table a bill in parliament that will give digital currencies legal status in the South American country. The bill will also lay out regulations for the industry which has been growing rapidly amid chaos in the local economy.

Ignacio Torres, a member of the Argentina parliament, will present the bill this week, local tech news outlet iProUp reports. The bill aims to “create a comprehensive regulatory framework applicable to civil and commercial transactions and operations of crypto assets,” the outlet claims.

The new bill will finally recognize digital currencies as a means of payment, savings or investment, the report further reveals. It will give legal status to digital currencies for the first time in Argentina, recognizing them as a “digital representation of value which uses blockchain technology as a fundamental infrastructure and can be used as a medium of exchange, store of value and unit of account.”

Speaking to iProUp, Torres said his intention with the new bill is to recognize digital currencies as financial assets. It’s regrettable that Argentina has been lagging behind other countries in the regulation of digital currencies, he noted. This is despite the country having a rapidly growing digital currency ecosystem. The outlet estimated the number of digital currency users in Argentina at 900,000.

In drafting the bill, the Member of Parliament pooled together some of Argentina’s leading digital currency experts who offered insight into the industry. One of these is Efrain Barraza, the operations manager at digital currency ATM machine operator Athena Bitcoin. Speaking to iProUp, Barraza stated that the bill will attract more investors as they will have government protection now.

In addition, the bill will allow local companies to diversify their use of digital currencies and blockchain technology. This will include the rise of tokenization, with Barraza expecting more companies to tokenize their shares. Once this happens, the regulators will know how to regulate them once the bill sails through parliament.

Aside from promoting the growth of digital currencies, the new bill will also see a rise in blockchain adoption, Torres believes. The public sector will be among the biggest beneficiaries, with Torres expecting the technology to stamp out bureaucracy and consequently, ease the tax burden.

Argentina has experienced hyperinflation in recent years, hitting 53.8% in 2019—the highest level in three decades. This has led many to explore alternatives to the depreciating local currency, the peso, with digital currencies emerging as the top choice. A survey conducted by P2P trading platform Paxful found that 73% of Argentines believe that digital currencies are the most effective way to save and protect their funds. As Paxful shared with CoinGeek in August, 68% of citizens also believe that digital currencies have allowed them to gain control of their finances under the current economic turmoil.

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