Latin America turns to bitcoins


The Bitcoin, a virtual currency that circulates outside regular financial systems is a trend that is now catching on in Latin American countries.

Bitcoins, an online currency created by computer programmers is gaining in interest and popularity in Argentina and Brazil.

The Bitcoin was invented in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto and the name is thought to be a pseudonym of a Japanese programmer or group of people. The software to issue and exchange it among a network of users was published in January 2009.

Unlike other currencies, the Bitcoin cannot be counterfeited because of the cryptographic system used. Transactions are peer-to-peer, and Bitcoins can be exchanged for dollars, euros or other currencies, or for goods and services.

Moises Briseno, a Mexican systems engineer, is a user and student of this completely digital cash system that is independent of any central issuing authority.

“I buy and sell Bitcoins. I check the exchange rate quotations and trends. They are still not much used in the region [of Latin America]. One of my aims is to encourage existing businesses to accept them and to show their advantages for users and businesses,” said Briseno.

It isn’t just a “fashionable” online currency, but something far more revolutionary, Fernando Ulrich of the Instituto Ludwig von Mises in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre said.

Ulrich is a Bitcoin enthusiast, saying that not only does it reduce transaction costs, but it also represents a new way of thinking about the international economy without interference from national states and central banks.

“I was astonished at its revolutionary potential. It is a robust network and an innovation that can change the way people conduct transactions, by liberating people from dependence on the monopoly of money issued by the state,” Ulrich said.


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