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ECONOMY | 03-05-2022 12:51

Two Argentine banks allow customers to buy cryptocurrencies

Banco Galicia, the country’s largest private bank by market value, and digital bank Brubank SAU will allow their customers to purchase crypto including Bitcoin, Ether and USDC starting Monday.

Argentines have proven to be big fans of cryptocurrencies. Two regulated banks want to be among the first to take advantage of it.

Banco Galicia, the country’s largest private bank by market value, and digital bank Brubank SAU will allow their customers to purchase crypto including Bitcoin, Ether and USDC starting Monday. For Banco Galicia, the decision follows high customer demand, with 60 percent of respondents in a survey asking for easy access to crypto through their banks. 

“This motivated us to push this project,” said Ariel Sánchez, manager of investment products and Nicolas de Giovanni, senior product manager at Banco Galicia, in statement. “The youth is the group that asks for this the most.” 

Previously, Argentines could only purchase crypto through wallets or directly from holders.

Argentina is among the world’s top 10 countries with the highest adoption of cryptocurrencies, according to specialised website Chainalysis. Buffeted by recurring currency crises and inflation running above 50 percent annually, two-thirds of Argentines who invest in crypto say they do so to protect their savings from diminishing purchasing power, according to a study by Buenos Aires-based Wunderman Thompson.

The adoption of crypto by regulated banks is seen spreading from Argentina to the rest of the region, according to the press office for Brubank, which also confirmed the launch. 

In the case of both banks, cryptos will be purchased through the same platform that clients use to buy bonds or stocks and thanks to a partnership with Argentine crypto wallet Lirium. Initially, Banco Galicia is only rolling out this option to users who receive their salary via direct deposit into the bank. 

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by Ignacio Olivera Doll, Bloomberg

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