Public transport riders in 37 localities across Argentina can now add credit balance to their SUBE travelcards with bitcoin. This comes through a collaboration between Alto Viaje, who provide the travelcard-loading platform, and Bitex, a fintech company.
Buenos Aires Commuters Can Pay in Bitcoin
This may be a small step for Bitcoin, but it is a giant leap for crypto-kind. The integration of bitcoin and cryptocurrency payments for products and services is nothing new. But to find itself presented to such a diverse and encompassing cross-section of the population as metro and bus riders. That’s some serious publicity and a serious push into the mainstream.
As CMO of Bitex, Manuel Beaudroit, explained:
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.
SUBE cards can be topped up with credit at all subte stations, national lottery outlets, and at some kioskos with automated terminals. To find the nearest point of sale, the SUBE website has a map of SUBE vendors.
The key objective for Alto Viaje, was to make the card-loading process as accessible as possible. Prior to the addition of bitcoin payments, the platform only accepted PayPal. But it will soon also be processing payments through local payment provider, RapiPago.
Teaming up with Bitex allowed it to offer bitcoin top-ups in a secure and tested infrastructure. Director, Luciano Verardo, said:
…we want to offer safe and innovative services, the alliance with Bitex allows us to integrate payment with bitcoins and new possibilities of financial inclusion…
Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina
Argentina is currently in the midst of a financial crisis, with inflation rates a big concern for many. This has led an increasing number of citizens to turn to bitcoin as a way of preserving their wealth. LocalBitcoins volumes are soaring in the country, and Bitcoin ATM numbers have been growing over the past few months.
It will be interesting to see if the move to allow travelcard top-ups in bitcoin accelerates this trend. Will the wider public see bitcoin as a more stable solution than the Argentine Peso?
Will countries with troubled economies turn to bitcoin first? Share your thoughts below!
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