Argentina’s Largest Private Bank Launches Ability to Buy Bitcoin and Ethereum

The Buenos Aires bank Banco Galicia, founded in 1905, allows its clients to trade Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), XRP and USD Coin (USDC). To make this possible, it partnered with Lirium AG, a company that provides plug & play cryptocurrency solutions for banking institutions, to enable the new service. Argentina is one of the top countries in terms of cryptocurrency adoption due to high inflation. According to Deel data, it has more employees paid in digital assets than any other country in the world. The number of companies allowing their employees to receive payments in cryptocurrencies has increased by over 340% in just one year, with small businesses being the main factor behind the growing adoption. Banco Galicia is, as mentioned, the largest private bank in the country. It serves more than four million private and corporate customers. It also has approximately 600 branches worldwide. The bank allows its users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, but does not allow them to withdraw or transfer cryptocurrencies, Lirium COO Martin Kopacz told CoinDesk, adding that the bank also offers a deposit function. It was also clear that Banco Galicia plans to roll out the service to all its customers in mid-May, Kopacz noted. Lirium is also partnering with four other Argentine financial institutions that are planning to launch a cryptocurrency trading service, Kopacz said, without disclosing exact information. In addition, according to Kopacz, Lirium is working on similar integrations in Brazil and Mexico.

It is not the only Argentine bank

Banco Galicia’s decision follows a customer survey that found that 60% of respondents expressed a need to be able to buy cryptocurrencies on the banking platform. “This motivated us to accelerate this project. It’s mainly young people who are asking for these resources to be added,” said Ariel Sanchez, the bank’s investment products manager. In addition to Banco Galicia, the digital bank Brubank SAU also started this service. Slowly but surely, the traditional financial sector is embracing bitcoin and the rest of the industry.

Banco Galicia is not yet ready

A curious user wrote to Banco Galicia on Twitter to ask if the service was already available. Banco Galicia confirmed this through the official account and indicated that more investment options will be added. However, it is not yet possible for Banco Galicia users to withdraw bitcoins, ethers or other cryptocurrencies from the platform. Sending Bitcoin to your own wallet or paying other users is therefore still not an option. At Banco Galicia, for now, it is purely about bitcoin as a means of savings.

Argentina among the 10 countries with the highest adoption rate

According to the numbers from Chainalysis, Argentina is among the top 10 countries with the highest rate of cryptocurrency adoption. This is not surprising, as Argentina has been plagued by high inflation for years. The country is going from currency crisis to currency crisis and has even experienced more than 50% inflation. Two-thirds of Argentines who invest in cryptocurrencies say they do so to protect their savings against inflation. With traditional banks also jumping on the cryptocurrency train, there is a good chance that the adoption rate in Argentina will increase. In both banks, it is now possible to buy cryptocurrencies on the same platform where users can buy stocks and bonds. Initially, Banco Galicia will only provide this service to users who receive their salary through direct deposit at the bank.

Bitcoin Revolution in Latin America

Lirium is the infrastructure provider that helps Banco Galicia, among others, to configure its cryptocurrency services. According to COO Martin Kopacz, his company is working with similar players in countries like Brazil and Mexico. In addition, it works with four Argentine banks to bring cryptocurrencies to its customers. So Bitcoin is doing well in Latin America. In that regard, Bitcoin is moving fast. It is becoming easier to buy bitcoin, and the rising inflation around the world ensures a smooth spread of bitcoin history. Currently, it may seem that the price of bitcoin is not doing well, but you should keep in mind that in March 2020 we dropped to around 3,000 euros. Seen from this perspective, we have made significant progress in two years.