Bitcoin has been making headlines in Argentina with a remarkable surge in value over the past two years when priced in Argentine pesos. However, this impressive performance may not be as spectacular as it seems, as the country grapples with a staggering 300% inflation rate during the same period.
Argentina, a nation of 47 million people, has long been plagued by hyperinflation, largely attributed to failed economic policies and persistent budget deficits. The looming threat of a full-scale currency collapse has kept Argentinians on edge, leading some to explore alternative stores of value like Bitcoin.
According to a recent report, The Argentine government has historically resorted to inflating the money supply through various means, including bank deposits and government bonds. The country’s aggregate money supply M1, comprising currency, demand deposits, and checkable deposits, has skyrocketed from 2.81 trillion pesos in July 2019 to a staggering 10.66 trillion pesos, marking a jaw-dropping 277% increase over three years.
Bitcoin’s Resilience Amid Argentine Economic Challenges
Bitcoin’s price on domestic exchanges surged to 19.6 million Argentine pesos, up from 14.2 million when Bitcoin reached its all-time high in U.S. dollars in November 2021. Investors in Argentina have still managed to accrue gains of 38% when measured in the local currency, even after a 61.5% drop from its peak price of $69,000.
A price gap surfaces when checking Bitcoin’s value in Argentine pesos on CoinMarketCap. This variance stems from Argentina’s intricate official exchange rate system, particularly the “dollar BNA,” regulated by the central bank for governmental dealings and trade, a rate often divergent from a cryptocurrency exchange, leading to this price divergence.
Government efforts to bolster the official Argentine peso rate for stability inadvertently trigger inflation and spawn the clandestine “dollar blue” market. This market is notorious for illicit activities, diminished transparency, and discouraging foreign investment, resulting in volatile exchange rates influenced by market forces and government actions.
Analyzing Bitcoin’s performance on the Bitso exchange in Argentine pesos, it becomes evident that Bitcoin has indeed gained 150% over the two years ending Sept. 21, rising from 7.84 million pesos to 16.6 million pesos. According to a recent report, this gain pales compared to the staggering official inflation rate of over 300% during the same period.
In stark contrast, those who opted for U.S. dollars, whether in traditional form or stablecoins, have seen their holdings increase by 297% during this two-year window, effectively matching the inflation rate. This analysis specifically considers the period from September 2021 to September 2023.
The results may be disheartening for Bitcoin proponents, potentially driving the adoption of stablecoins in the region. However, it’s worth noting that this period has given Argentinian investors valuable lessons about self-custody and the importance of scarcity as the local currency continues to suffer from an ever-inflating supply.
Related Reading:| Bitcoin Network Sparks Intrigue As Block Fullness Reaches All-Time High