Latin America’s biggest Bitcoin conference starts in Buenos Aires

Dollarization, the ‘digital peso’ and lack of regulations: the event is marked by Argentina’s political agenda, its organizer said

The eleventh LABITCONF, the world’s oldest Bitcoin and blockchain event, runs from Friday through Saturday night in Buenos Aires. The event, which will have over 150 speakers, is taking place in the Costa Salguero Convention Center in Palermo.

According to Rodolfo Andragnes, the conference’s creator and the founder of the NGO Bitcoin Argentina, the event is aimed at “teenagers, business leaders, economists, programmers and government officials.”

The LABITCONF is marked by Argentina’s political agenda, Adragnes told the Herald. “It has international and local economists speaking about monetary patterns and dollarization, about the ‘digital currency’ [announced by the government], about open-source [crypto] mining.”

American entrepreneur Michael J. Saylor, executive chairman of MicroStrategy, a business intelligence company that has one of the biggest Bitcoin investments in the world, will also give a talk at the event. Diana Mondino, who far-right presidential candidate Javier Milei said would be his foreign minister in his prospective government, and Carlos Maslatón, a former ally of Milei, will also give talks.

The event will be marked by some of the latest controversies in the crypto universe, including the collapse of the stablecoin TerraUSD (UST) and the cryptocurrency Luna, the NFT crash, and FTX crypto exchange founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s fraud conviction. 

At a talk on Friday called “What did we learn from the crashes of FTX and LUNA?” representatives from brokerage firms discussed what the global crypto ecosystem was doing to prevent similar disasters in the future.

“A great part of the ecosystem said, ‘It was bound to happen,’” Adragnes told the Herald. “Every centralized project holds that risk if they are not transparent with their accounts. So, it was time that we learned — not all that glitters is gold, and just because everyone is investing [in a particular cryptocurrency] doesn’t mean you should too.

“The market accepted that whoever invested there lost money, but it improved its transparency.”

Adragnes also spoke about the “digital peso,” a project announced by Economy Minister and presidential candidate Sergio Massa, which will be discussed at the conference. “In our understanding, it’s merely a political project for the campaign. There is not a single certainty behind it,” Adragnes said.

However, the organizer saw that the country has huge potential for growth in crypto, beyond its use to escape from the peso. At the beginning of the year, a report by Americas Market Intelligence (AMI) revealed Argentines are increasingly looking to stablecoins as a way of saving in the face of government-imposed exchange restrictions.

Adragnes said there are some potential problems, like the country lacking specific regulations for the sector, but in one of the talks, members of Bitcoin Argentina presented an “intelligent” crypto regulation bill project.

“There are a lot of very qualified human resources, we are the most active crypto community in the region,” Adragnes said. “It’s a very good breeding ground for crypto projects. That’s why we’re holding the conference in Argentina — the original idea for LABITCONF was to do it in different countries but in the last few years we decided we’d only do it here.”


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald