Argentina’s Largest Private Bank Adds Crypto Trading

  • Banco Galicia’s move targets younger customers and highlights a global trend of crypto adoption by traditional banks
  • Argentinians are increasingly using cryptocurrency to protect their savings against runaway inflation

Banco Galicia, Argentina’s largest private bank by market capitalization, has added crypto trading to its investment platform, the bank confirmed on Monday. Argentines rank among the world’s top users of digital assets, partly due to inflation in the South American country.

The move targets younger customers, who according to survey data want easier access to crypto through traditional banking channels, the bank’s senior product manager Nicolas de Giovanni told Bloomberg.

Customers can buy digital assets on the same platform they use to buy stocks or bonds thanks to the bank’s partnership with the Lirium crypto wallet. Unlike other exchanges, however, users cannot withdraw or send their cryptocurrency.

The bank confirmed it was launching crypto trading in the home banking app after Argentines spotted the new feature on Monday. The feature will initially only be available to customers who receive their income by direct deposit.

Banco Galicia, listed on the Nasdaq and the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange, is the first major bank in the country to provide such services.

But it won’t be the only one: digital bank Brubank SAU will also offer crypto trading services, including bitcoin, ether and USDC, starting this week as well.

Until now, Argentines had to use centralized exchanges through wallets or trade directly through OTC exchanges.

Argentina has been struggling with high inflation and the devaluation of its currency, the peso, for years now. In 2017, it received a $44 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund, the institution’s largest relief package. Locals have in turn started investing in crypto to protect their savings against declining purchasing power.

Banco Galicia joins a growing number of traditional banks around the world that are turning to digital assets. Last month, Commerzbank, Germany’s fourth-largest bank, confirmed that it wanted to offer digital asset custody and trading services to its customers, initially focusing on institutional clients.

In Argentina, as well as other Latin American countries like El Salvador, crypto adoption is becoming mainstream. Recently, Argentinian authorities announced an innovation hub to boost fintech and crypto startups in a regulated environment. Employers can also pay up to 20% of an employee’s salary in cryptocurrencies.


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  • Tiago Varzim

    blockages

    Freelance journalist

    Tiago Varzim is a Portugal-based journalist covering macroeconomics, financial markets and digital assets in the European Union. He works for the main financial newspapers in Portugal. Tiago graduated from the Escola Superior de Comunicação Social in Lisbon with a degree in journalism.

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Argentina’s Largest Private Bank Adds Crypto Trading


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