An extremely volatile national currency and a bank system that is not trusted by the public make Argentina a perfect bitcoin playground, claims NYT’s Nathaniel Popper. And although the number of bitcoin users in the country is relatively small, Argentina has become a place where the virtual currency is actually used by the ordinary people in everyday commercial transactions due to the failing local banking system.

 In the course of 2014, peso, the Argentinian national currency dropped by 25%. What makes cryptocurrency even more attractive is the percentage of the unbanked population, which is estimated at over 50%. US market was believed to be the first to embrace bitcoin, and some large American companies have started to accept bitcoin payments, but many users are still reluctant to use it. Meanwhile, what we witness in Argentina may be a real user-driven bitcoin revolution.

Argentina’s bitcoin market is booming: in the summer of 2014 a popular online retailer Avalancha offered its customers a generous 10% discount if they were to pay with the virtual currency, and since then the volume of crypto-transactions is steadily growing.  It also seems to be a win-win situation: e-retailers are tired of losing up to 10% of the revenue to the not always transparent country’s financial system.

The best-known bitcoin startup in Argentina, BitPagos, supports overseas bitcoin payments for booking over 200 hotels at different price points avoiding the Argentina’s restrictions. And the country’s capital Buenos Aires now boasts its own bitcoin Embassy that houses eight local startups whose business relies on cryptocurrencies.