Argentine Bank Uala to Suspend Crypto Business: Details
- Argentine fintech firm Uala has suspended its crypto business, on which at least 300,000 users have traded digital assets at least once.
- The bank will give its crypto sellers a 5% commission, which will be settled in pesos at a rate similar to the MEP dollar.
- The Argentine Central Bank announced that fintech firms are not allowed to engage in crypto or provide their clients access to crypto.
- The regulation from the Central Bank has also affected Mercado Pago, Argentina’s leading fintech firm.
The crypto industry is currently heavily influenced by the regulatory uncertainty around the globe regarding the regulation of digital assets and the sharp decline in the price of cryptocurrencies following the onset of the crypto winter. Interestingly, a popular electronic bank in Argentina, Uala, which had put the unbanked Argentines in its crosshairs, has confirmed that it will be shutting down its crypto business, according to local media reports.
The report added that there are around 300,000 people who are customers of Uala and hold crypto assets. The platform has stated that these people who have their crypto stored in the electronic bank’s digital wallet will have to sell their digital assets within a 30-day period. Additionally, for the sale, the bank will give its crypto holders a 5% commission, which will be settled in pesos at a rate similar to the MEP dollar.
“All the people who have opened an account to operate crypto through Ualá have already been notified. Those who have money invested in crypto will receive economic compensation of 5% on the amount sold after the liquidation of their holdings as recognition for having trusted our proposal”, Uala said.
The MEP dollar, or Mercado Electrónico de Pagos, also known as the “foreign tourist dollar,” represents the exchange rate that tourists access when they pay for consumption in the country with a card.
The reason for this decision from Uala, established in 2017 by Pierpaolo Barbieri, is the decision from the Central Bank of last week that stated that virtual wallets, or “Payment Service Providers that Offer Payment Accounts (PSPCP)”, “may not carry out or facilitate their clients to carry out operations with digital assets.”
Ualá had to stop selling Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), the top two cryptocurrencies that it previously allowed its customers to buy and store. The feature to trade BTC and ETH was rolled out in November last year, as reported by CoinDesk. Interestingly, the company said that it had restricted the users from transferring and receiving crypto assets in their digital wallets “since that implies a risk for the user and for the platform.”
However, it is also a fact that the cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets available in the Argentine market have not changed their offerings, but Uala has decided to do so.
Furthermore, the new regulation from the Central Bank of Argentina, was applicable throughout the fintech market, and as a result, it also prohibited Mercado Pago, the country’s leading fintech firm, from incorporating cryptocurrencies into its investment offering. The bank provides crypto offerings in Brazil and Mexico.
“We are forced to suspend the possibility of operating crypto, which in any case was just one more option within our investment menu, which is very broad,” said the company sources.
They limited themselves to saying that “each fintech, with its legal department, has made its interpretation of the norm, and we consider that we were included” when asked about the differences with other businesses.
As reported earlier by Bitnation, the Argentine Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons joined the NFT bandwagon and released 77 NFTs under the banner “CryptoMasons.” All the proceeds from the sale went to regional charities backed by the chapter.