Argentine Fintech Uala Floats Crypto Trading Service

Mastercard-linked fintech company Uala which is headquartered in Argentina has launched a new service that gives Argentines access to crypto trading specifically for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). Using pesos, about 4.5 million Argentines will be permitted to buy and sell cryptocurrencies through the Uala app. 

For now, the service will be accessible to only a few thousand before the final rollout to all citizens and residents of Argentina, according to Andres Rodriguez Ledermann, the Vice President of Wealth Management at Uala.

Notably, only purchases and sales have been enabled on the Uala app, therefore, users cannot withdraw their digital assets. The minimum transaction size allowed on the app is pegged at 250 pesos equivalent to $0.83.

Uala which raised $350 million in a Series D funding round with SoftBank, Tencent’s affiliates, and other industry investors, is currently valued at almost $2.5 billion.

Across Argentina, Mexico, and Colombia, the fintech firm has 5 million dedicated users. Bearing this in mind, Ledermann did not rule out the possibility of offering these crypto-trading services in those regions as well.

Argentina Lay Out Stance on Crypto Regulation

Instead, he emphasized the need for regulatory issues to be researched and sorted before such service is enabled.

Remarkably, Uala is the first financial institution to inaugurate digital asset trading services in Argentina. Sometime in May, the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic (BCRA) barred banks in the country from facilitating for clients the use of crypto assets.

The decision of BCRA was in connection to the regulation of digital assets service providers. According to a statement issued by the central bank, “banks are prohibited from offering services for any digital assets not regulated by the central bank.” Presently, Uala is working towards complying with Argentina’s stance on digital assets and the crypto market.

Ledermann attested to the fact that Uala has created a dedicated company Uanex which is located in England. This sub-company will be the crypto service provider while Latin American crypto company Bitso will serve as its crypto liquidity provider. 

Leading digital asset service provider Binance and financial payment giant Mastercard have contributed immensely to the expansion of the crypto industry in Argentina. Together, they have lined up a credit card launch for crypto payment in the country.