Argentine unicorn Uala debuts crypto trading as inflation rattles country

Quick Take

  • Fintech unicorn Uala has added cryptocurrency trading in Argentina. 
  • Feature supports bitcoin and ether. 
  • With annual inflation nearing 100%, Argentines have been turning to digital assets.

Buenos Aires-based neobank Uala has started rolling out crypto trading in Argentina, with the feature already available to selected users.

Customers can buy and sell bitcoin and ether on the fintech's app, and the feature will continue rolling out to those who sign up on a waiting list. Uala has more than 4.5 million users in Argentina and also offers its app in Colombia and Mexico. 

“For a long time our users have asked us for the possibility of investing in crypto in addition to pesos through the Uala app," Uala Vice President of Wealth Management Andres Rodriguez Ledermann said in a statement. "We will continue working for financial education and access to different alternatives for investment in a simple and digital way."

With annual inflation getting closer to 100% in Argentina, local residents have been turning to alternative currencies like stablecoins and crypto-based credit cards for purchases to more efficiently save. Uala's announcement is significant in part because banks in Argentina have not had an easy time opening up crypto trading to clients. 

In May, Argentina's central bank (BCRA) blocked financial institutions from offering crypto operations, just days after major private bank Banco Galicia and all-digital Brubank said they would offer crypto trading.

Uala said it will offer the crypto trading feature in its app by requiring users to create an account with Uanex, a company within Uala's ecosystem. 

The fintech unicorn most recently raised $350 million through a Series D round in Aug. 2021 led by Tencent and SoftBank Latin America Ventures. The round brought the startup's valuation to $2.45 billion, Bloomberg reported

 


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