The record on LocalBitcoins in Argentina last week is a truly remarkable achievement.
The previous record of exchanges in Argentine Peso (ARS) had occurred in May, with about 69 million ARS traded.
This week it was over 96 million, an increase of almost 40% compared to the previous record of a couple of months ago.
Argentina is having a bad time financially, with the peso depreciating sharply against the dollar.
Indeed, the ARS has just reached its absolute lowest ever value against the US dollar, with a drop of more than 15% since the beginning of the year.
The fact is that it was a trading record not only in ARS but also in bitcoin. On LocalBitcoins, the total BTC traded last week were 88, a volume that hadn’t been recorded since November 2016, when 1 BTC was worth about $700.
Not even during the months of the last big speculative bubble, at the end of 2017, similar volumes occurred, and this clearly indicates that it wasn’t a coincidence.
After all, the value of the Argentine peso is decreasing dramatically, and the value of the US dollar in recent months continues to fall compared to other more stable currencies.
LocalBitcoins, record trading not only in Argentina
In fact, there have been sustained trading volumes on LocalBitcoins also in other parts of the world, with a new absolute record also in Venezuela, although only slightly higher than the previous one.
Other notable peaks have occurred in South Africa, Tanzania, Peru, Chile, Nigeria, Kenya and Brazil, while recently there have also been peaks in Japan, Mexico and Egypt.
Very curious is also the peak in Europe, with over 3.6 million euros traded, the second-highest peak since April 2018 after June 2019.
It is likely that the long period of relative stability in the value of bitcoin has convinced some people to consider it less volatile and risky than in the past, prompting them to consider it as an alternative to the fiat currencies in their possession, possibly even in view of rising inflation.
Besides, it is precisely in Argentina that rates of inflation are now very high, although not yet at the exorbitant levels of Venezuela.
Evidently, in some cases, bitcoin can come to the aid of those who hold fiat currency in strong devaluation, also because it is very easy to exchange, with no restrictions of any kind.