Binance and Mastercard have launched a prepaid rewards card in Argentina to help people spend crypto on everyday goods in a country where the native currency suffers from one of the world’s highest levels of inflation.
The card will let users buy things and pay bills with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, according to a Thursday announcement by Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange by volume.
Binance’s announcement added that the prepaid card will convert the crypto users hold on its app into fiat currency (US dollars or Argentine pesos) in real time at the point of sale. Users will also be able to get crypto cash back rewards of up to 8%.
— Binance (@binance) August 4, 2022
“We believe the Binance Card is a significant step in encouraging wider crypto use and global adoption and now it is available for users from Argentina,” general director of Binance in Latin America Maximiliano Hinz said in the announcement.
Argentina will be the first country in Latin America to have the card, which is right now in beta mode and will be widely available in the coming weeks. The announcement added that users will not get charged on ATM withdrawals either.
Crypto is gaining traction in Argentina: blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis last year ranked the country among the top 10 crypto adopters worldwide.
And Bitcoin isn’t the only digital asset that is popular. Stablecoins—cryptocurrencies pegged to fiat currencies, like the U.S. dollar—are also finding a use case. Just last week, Argentinian football team Banfield received $6 million in USDC, the second biggest stablecoin by market cap, as payment for a player from Brazilian club Sao Paulo.
The Argentine government is worried about capital flight as the pesos loses value, so last month introduced new measures focused on crypto: the central bank said that those who have bought Bitcoin or any other digital asset in the past 90 days with pesos would not be able to access the single free exchange market and buy U.S. dollars at the official rate.
Binance’s new debit card could well help crypto traders get around these new measures. A crypto trader in Argentina could, theoretically, use their Binance account to gain access to U.S.-dollar equivalents in the form of USDC or USDT stablecoins and spend those funds with the card—all without the need for a bank account or access to the official exchange market.
Argentina right now suffers from one of the worst inflation rates in the world—currently 64%. This makes everyday life difficult for Argentinians; spending can get complicated as most people use U.S. dollars and there are two exchange rates—an official one and black market one. Crypto may be a better bet for some.
Binance already has a crypto Visa debit card: it launched it last year and it lets Binance users convert their cryptocurrency holdings into fiat at the point of sale.