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Binance and Mastercard have created a prepaid rewards card in Argentina to allow users to spend cryptocurrency on everyday products in a country with one of the highest inflation rates in the world.
Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, announced that the card would enable users to make purchases and pay bills using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Binance's release said that the prepaid card would convert the cryptocurrencies users hold on its app into fiat cash (U.S. dollars or Argentine pesos) at the point of sale in real-time. Users will also be eligible for up to 8% crypto cash back incentives.
Maximiliano Hinz, general director of Binance in Latin America, stated in the release, “We feel the Binance Card is a big step in promoting greater crypto usage and worldwide adoption, and it is now accessible for Argentine customers.”
Argentina will be the first country in Latin America to receive the card, which is now in beta testing and will be extensively distributed in the following weeks. In addition, customers will not be charged for ATM withdrawals.
Cryptocurrency is gaining ground in Argentina, as the blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis rated the nation among the top 10 crypto adopters globally in 2017.
And Bitcoin is not the only popular digital asset. Stablecoins, or cryptocurrencies tethered to fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar, are also gaining traction. The Argentine football club Banfield got $6 million in USDC, the second-largest stablecoin by market capitalization, as payment for a Brazilian club Sao Paulo player last week.
The Argentine government is concerned about the capital flight as the peso loses value, so it introduced new crypto-focused measures last month. According to the central bank, those who have purchased Bitcoin or any other digital asset with pesos within the past 90 days will not be able to access the single free exchange market and buy U.S. dollars at the official rate.
The new debit card from Binance might enable crypto dealers to circumvent these new regulations. Theoretically, a crypto trader in Argentina might utilize their Binance account to acquire access to U.S. dollar equivalents in the form of USDC or USDT stablecoins and spend those monies with the card, all without a bank account or access to the formal exchange market.
Argentina has one of the worst inflation rates in the world, at 64 percent. This complicates daily living for Argentinians, as most of the population uses U.S. dollars, and there is two exchange rates—official and black market. For some, crypto may be a superior option.
Binance offers a crypto Visa debit card; it was introduced last year and allows customers to change their cryptocurrency holdings into fiat cash at the point of sale.