Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin made an unannounced visit to Argentina last Friday. The eccentric programmer was first spotted in the fashionable Palermo barrio of the country’s capital Buenos Aires.
The next day, he was reported as having lunch with the former president, Mauricio Macri, who served between 2015 and 2019.
When it comes to Latin America’s crypto revolution, Argentina is up there as a leading name in proceedings. But the question on everyone’s mind is, is Buterin’s visit a positive development for Ethereum?
What was the Ethereum co-founder doing in Buenos Aires?
According to Bloomberg Linea, the media outlet’s Latin American division, Buterin was in Argentina to participate in the first anniversary of indexing protocol The Graph.
In a retweet from The Graph, Buterin speaks about the difficulty of handling historical data on Ethereum. He said people are dealing with this issue by switching to The Graph.
“[On historical data more than one-year-old] Today, you could get it from Ethereum, but actually even today getting it from Ethereum is not very efficient. So even today people are switching to The Graph, right?”
🔥 Listen to @VitalikButerin at a @graphprotocol bday event in South America talking about The Graph, Ethereum, and Web3. $GRT https://t.co/nV9ltu1YfV
— GRTiQ (@grt_iq) December 18, 2021
Buterin met with the former head of state, Mauricio Macri, for lunch the next day. In a tweet from Macri, he spoke highly of cryptocurrency, calling it an innovative technology. He added that the conversation centered on opportunities for crypto and blockchain at the governmental level.
“Fascinating encounter with Vitalik Buterin, creator of Ethereum, one of the most innovative decentralized technologies of our century. Its Ether currency is one of the best valued in the world. We chat about the role of crypto and blockchain opportunities for states.”
Argentina begins paying attention to cryptocurrency regulation
Research conducted by blockchain solutions firm Triple-A puts cryptocurrency adoption at just under 3% in Argentina, equating to 1.3 million users.
Cryptocurrency has been gaining in popularity in Argentina. This is primarily due to it offering an alternative to the failing legacy system, particularly the problem of inflation.
Since 2017, average annual inflation had ranged from 25.7% to as high as 53.6% in 2019. Combined with an economic downturn and dollar shortage, locals have increasingly turned to safe havens, including cryptocurrency, to buffer the storm.
The government policy on cryptocurrency was previously neutral in the sense that regulators did not interfere. However, things are changing as cryptocurrency is rising in popularity.
Forbes points out the central bank is investigating fintech firms for enabling interest on crypto deposits.
But, in a somewhat positive development, last month saw the government update its tax rules to levy a 0.6% charge on bank credits and debits. While this does not apply to cryptocurrency transactions, it does, of course, apply to on/off ramping.
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