In an April 2, 2019, press release, the Blockchain Research Institute (BRI) revealed a new deal with the government of Argentina. By joining the think tank, Argentinian officials will have access to myriad crypto-related resources to continue developing the various blockchain projects in the country.
The Building Blocks of Innovation
Argentina has recently been making headlines in the crypto space following a number of bullish moves.
In the first, the South American government partnered with Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the industry. Via their venture arm, Binance Labs will be offering a $50,000 grant to each of the projects in which Argentina’s Accelerator Program invests.
Citizens have also enjoyed a massive uptake of bitcoin from the vast array of Bitcoin ATMs as well as the public transport system deciding to adopt crypto as a means of payment. A change in the government’s regulation allowed for Octagon, a subsidiary of the ATM firm Odyssey Group, to install an estimated 30,000 Bitcoin ATMs throughout the country according to May 2018 reports.
In February 2019, Sistema Único de Boleto Electrónico (SUBE) announced that they would allow bus and subway passengers to pay for top-ups of their SUBE cards. The service is available across 37 different cities in Argentina and will likely see users turn to crypto for reasons beyond escaping inflation.
A common thread found in many countries in the region has been poor financial management from political leaders.
Venezuela has been the most common example of this, but Argentina has also suffered from a severe depreciation in its local currency. At the end of 2018, Argentina recorded the second-highest inflation rate in Latin America at 47 percent. Countries all over the world have seen quick crypto adoption for this very reason.
Access to Resources
The most recent initiative between the Argentinian government and the BRI will provide officials with reported “access to over 100 research projects, webinars, and other exclusive deliverables, as well as access to various programs and events alongside large corporations, governments, non-profit organizations and members of the startup community.”
The announcement is the product of meetings in November 2018 between the BRI’s executive chairman and co-author of “Blockchain Revolution” Don Tapscott, Mauricio Macri, the Argentinian President, and Andrés Ibarra, the deputy chief of staff. In joining the blockchain group, government officials will also be helping create a “Blockchain Research Institute Center of Excellence” in the country.
These centers of excellence make up a larger attempt between WISekey International Holding Ltd. and BRI. The centers will act as hubs of innovation according to WISekey’s CEO, Carlos Moreira. After setting up a research institute in Buenos Aires, Switzerland, India, and Rwanda are slated to build out similar projects.