The region of Latin America has shown strong interest and propensity for decentralized, digital currencies like bitcoin while the traditional world of financial systems is failing it. In addition to the record levels of adoption and trade volumes in Venezuela, for example, other nations like Argentina have also seen growing levels of attention.
Transaction volumes in bitcoin traded over LocalBitcoins have shown a rising interest in Argentina since late 2017, with the volume of bitcoin bought and sold reaching spikes surpassing $20 million and then $30 million in a tremendous boost toward the final months of 2019.
The trade volume in Chile, however, had already reached $50 million by the second half of 2017 and has been steadily climbing ever since. With the trading volume approaching the $250 million mark in December 2019, it’s clear that Chile has a robust and interested Bitcoin community in the face of its political issues.
Manuel (Manu) Beaudroit is one of the founders and the chief marketing officer of Bitex, a cryptocurrency exchange that is currently the most-used in Latin America. He runs the daily operations of the exchange within Chile’s borders and has a unique perspective on both the daily lived experience of the current unrest and the thinking that guides larger firms in the crypto space on these issues.
“The unrest has impacted Chile by making people in many cases lose their jobs and companies to stop any investment project,” said Beaudroit. “In our case, we saw a 44 percent increase in visits from Chileans since the unrest started.”
Although many businesses have slowed down their plans in Chile, Bitex announced in December 2019 that it’s planning to massively expand operations in the nation as 2020 rolls around. Since the Chilean peso has hit new lows despite the nation being one of the most developed on the continent, Beaudroit has said that “by next year, we see things accelerating.”
He also noted that an influx of people moving to the country has been a significant factor in its adoption of bitcoin.
“The crypto ecosystem in Chile is small, but growing fast as migrants move to those latitudes,” Beaudroit told Bitcoin Magazine, using “those latitudes” as a colloquial phrase for the long, skinny country nestled between large mountain ranges on the border with Argentina and the coastline of the Pacific Ocean. “Society is pretty conservative in terms of the investment that they perform, therefore this type of movement is being driven mostly by migrants and young people.” bitcoinmagazine.com