Last week the Argentinian Unidad de Informacion Financiera issued a statement about digital assets and money laundering. The regulator said there has been an increase in transactions carried out through virtual assets that may be illegal. To quote the agency:
“In this context, the Financial Information Unit of the Argentine Republic (UIF-Argentina) warns that such operations could be being carried out by people who seek to circumvent international standards and avoid the preventive system of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, therefore that, among other actions, calls on the Obliged Subjects to the effects that make their collections extreme regarding actions that could pose a threat to the economic and financial order of our country.” [translated]
The FIU is said to be collecting information from agents involved in digital asset transactions. While pointing a finger at AML concerns, the truth may be rather different as the Argentinian peso has been on an extended slide down in value and the country is nearing default on international debt obligations once again.
An article in Cronista indicates the interest in digital assets comes at a time when the government is concerned about capital flight. Moving pesos into crypto may be a way for a long-suffering population to safeguard some value.
Last October, a center-right government was replaced by the center-left regime of President Alberto Fernández and Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. If the government misses a payment deadline of June 2nd – which seems likely, Argentina will default for “the third time this century and ninth time in its history,” according to WP.com. The peso will probably sink lower too. Bitcoin probably looks pretty good in Argentina, a country that was once one of the wealthiest countries in the hemisphere until bad economic policies got in the way.