Argentina’s public transport system now accepts bitcoin (BTC) payments as passengers in 37 localities across the South American country can add credit balance to their SUBE travelcards with the cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin payments were integrated into the SUBE travelcards through a partnership with local fintech firm, Bitex and and Alto Viaje, a local travelcard-loading service. Commenting on adding bitcoin as a payment option, Manuel Beaudroit, the chief marketing officer at Bitex, remarked:
We believe that this type of project is of great importance since it brings technology as disruptive as bitcoin to the common people, demonstrating the true value and the applications it has in everyday life.
As explained by Spanish news outlet Cripto247, the SUBE cards may be topped up with credit at all supporting stations, certain kiosks with computerized terminals, and several national lottery outlets. In order to locate the closest point-of-sale (POS), the official SUBE website provides a map of all SUBE vendors.
Alto Viaje & Bitex Working Together To Facilitate BTC Payments
Local tech firm Bitex provides the payments infrastructure, including API integration, which is required by organizations in order to accept bitcoin payments from customers. Meanwhile, Alto Viaje aims to make the card-loading process as convenient as possible for Argentina’s residents. Before BTC payments were added, SUBE card users were only able to use PayPal for payments.
In addition to supporting bitcoin transactions, Alto Viaje is reportedly planning to partner with local payment processing service, RapiPago - in order to offer more payment options to SUBE travelcard holders. Explaining how the partnership with Bitex will allow for secure bitcoin top-ups, Luciano Verardo, the director at Alto Viaje, said:
We want to offer safe and innovative services ... the alliance with Bitex allows us to integrate payment with bitcoins and [explore] new possibilities of financial inclusion.
Argentina's Financial Crisis Leads To Increased Bitcoin Usage
At present, Argentina is embroiled in a financial crisis which has resulted in high levels of inflation. Because of a lack of trust in the country’s financial system, many of Argentina’s residents have started using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a medium-of-exchange (MoE) or as another asset class that will help them diversify their investment portfolio.
Trading volumes on peer-to-peer (P2P) crypto exchange LocalBitcoins have increased in the past few months and several Bitcoin ATMs have been installed throughout Argentina. As CryptoGlobe reported in late December 2018, eight new crypto ATMs were set up across different locations in Argentina by a company called Athena Bitcoin. Most of the bitcoin ATMs, or BTMs, can be found in the capital city of Buenos Aires.