The Central Bank of Argentina is asking local banks to scrutinize clients that hold Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and engage in business or trading activities using the assets, local news reports from last week showed.
Argentina’s Central Bank (the one with 50% annual inflation) is requesting banks to complete a sheet to identify clients known to have, trade or do payments with cryptoassets.
Here a message from a bank association to their members (leaked by the local #Bitcoin community): pic.twitter.com/Rba2rAJXDu
— Franco Amati 🦔🌎⚡ (@franamati) April 2, 2021
All banks would now be required to submit information about clients making any transactions to or from cryptocurrencies: “Information that allows identifying clients who have accounts for holding crypto assets or who have declared or are known that carry out purchase and/or sale cooperations and/or payment management through/of crypto assets,” the note said.
Local officials also stated the move was part of a broader evaluation that included the central bank deciding if there should be more regulations for the burgeoning cryptocurrency market in the country.
As per the report, such a request—despite there being no official laws or regulations for cryptocurrency usage in the country—comes as the central bank’s duties include “monitoring functions of payment systems” and therefore considered the move as “within the framework of the study.”
The banks are, hence, required to inform the central bank of each client, such as their address, number, and type of account, and the order covers accounts to receive or send money transfers intended for operations with cryptocurrencies.
Inflation and crisis but no Bitcoin
Franco Amati, one of the oldest and most well-known Bitcoin proponents online and a part of the Argentinian BTC community since 2011, shared screenshots of the dictum online and said the move was likely aimed at the bank accounts tied with local exchanges.
“Most probably they are looking for local exchanges bank accounts, which is only a minor part of what’s happening,” he noted, adding, “Since P2P using bank accounts is getting bigger in Argentina (Binance is winning LocalBitcoins, Paxful and others in this market).
Meanwhile, the move comes as Argentina is undergoing hefty inflation and faces a tough currency crisis after multi-year national bank defaults. And it’s choosing to go after people who use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in midst of that.
“Inflation was 36.1%, which was at least lower than the 53.8% of 2019. Inflation is expected to reach 48% this year.” Argentina has a population of 45 million, and for each one of them, #Bitcoin has become a moral imperative,” noted MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor in a relevant tweet.
“Inflation was 36.1%, which was at least lower than the 53.8% of 2019. Inflation is expected to reach 48% this year.” Argentina has a population of 45 million, and for each one of them, #Bitcoin has become a moral imperative.https://t.co/KpvSRpgaU2
— Michael Saylor (@michael_saylor) March 29, 2021
Cryptocurrencies were already present in the central bank regulations in Argentina. But these were heavily sanctioned in May 2020 and modified on several occasions and set harsh restrictions for citizens and businesses to access foreign money. And as always, crypto was a way out.
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