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Bitcoin in Argentina

Feb 28, 2024

Bitcoin in Argentina

Bitcoin in Argentina

This episode of the Bitcoin Tech Update with Preston Pysh features Alex Leishman from River and delves into the multifaceted nature of Bitcoin and its ecosystem, with a particular focus on the current state of Bitcoin in Argentina, the evolution of the Lightning Network, and the broader implications of Bitcoin's adoption and technical developments.

Argentina and Bitcoin Adoption:

  • Argentina presents a unique case study, showcasing a strong Bitcoin culture and a practical use of cryptocurrency due to the country's history of monetary instability.
  • The recent trip to Argentina highlighted some economic shifts: housing prices have decreased, while food prices have risen, reflecting early reactions to new government policies.
  • Argentinians actively use Bitcoin and stablecoins for saving and everyday transactions, circumventing strict capital controls and preserving wealth.

The Lightning Network's Role and Development:

  • The Lightning Network is part of Bitcoin's future but is not the complete solution to decentralized finance.
  • Transaction numbers on the Lightning Network have plateaued recently, not showing parabolic growth but steady usage.
  • The network is gradually growing as a medium for Bitcoin transactions, with an emphasis on integrating stablecoin transactions to cater to the public's preference for dealing in fiat currencies.

Global Economic Perturbations and Bitcoin:

  • Bitcoin's position in global economies is underscored by its potential to address the erratic behavior seen in traditional financial markets.
  • The discussion touches on the complexities of inflation, economic policies, and the role Bitcoin plays in stabilizing individual treasuries, particularly in countries with volatile currencies.

Custodial Solutions and Bitcoin Self-Custody:

  • While the ideal is for every individual to self-custody Bitcoin, the reality is that custodial solutions are more likely to be used by the majority, due to the trust placed in institutions.
  • The importance of having the option to self-custody is emphasized, alongside recognizing the need for and the challenges of providing low-cost, decentralized, and secure payment systems to everyone.

This episode paints a picture of a Bitcoin ecosystem that is constantly evolving, grappling with technical challenges, and making strides in adoption across different contexts. It also acknowledges the significance of continued development and the need for realistic approaches to scaling and integration with traditional financial systems.

Best Quotes

  1. "Argentinians were some of the first people to really understand Bitcoin. It was hard for people who hadn't experienced monetary collapse to understand Bitcoin in the early days." Context: This quote highlights the early adoption and deep understanding of Bitcoin by Argentinians due to their historical experience with economic instability.
  2. "We haven't figured out how to have a global, decentralized, censorship-resistant payment system that's incredibly cheap... It's not a solved problem." Context: This quote addresses the ongoing challenge of developing a payment system that balances decentralization, cost, and resistance to censorship—challenges the Lightning Network and other solutions continue to tackle.
  3. "At the end of the day, do we want every human in the world to be able to self-custody their Bitcoin in a censorship-resistant way? Absolutely." Context: This quote underscores the ultimate goal of Bitcoin—providing individuals with the means to independently manage their wealth without interference.


The episode encapsulates the dynamic landscape of Bitcoin, revealing its growing impact on economies like Argentina, where it serves as a hedge against economic unpredictability. The Lightning Network's maturation is dissected, acknowledging its potential and limitations, and the conversation on custodial solutions brings forth the tension between the ideal of self-custody and the pragmatic use of custodial services.

The overarching message is that Bitcoin, while not a panacea, is making significant strides towards becoming a reliable financial tool across various contexts. Its journey is marked by adaptation, technical innovation, and a vision to provide a decentralized financial system accessible to all. As Bitcoin continues to mature, the podcast suggests that it will likely evolve to address the needs of different users, all while maintaining its foundational principles. The episode invites listeners to reflect on the future trajectory of Bitcoin and its role in reshaping the financial landscape for years to come.


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