Bitcoin has received much attention and there have been many reactions from authorities and businesses in China, the United States and elsewhere. However, it is possible that more exciting possibilities are ahead for this cryptocurrency and other cryptocurrencies. The Wall Street Journal published an article last week on the apparent division in Latin America.
The Pacific-facing countries, except for Ecuador and Nicaragua, have more market-oriented economics than those in the Atlantic. Latin America is now the continent of global focus, with stagnant European growth and an Asia Pacific region that has been welcomed into global economic conversations.
Latin America will see the rise of alternative currencies and this will have a profound impact on both sides. Bitcoin, Latin American Growth and the Internet will all be in one place. At the same time, and cryptocurrencies will give Latin American entrepreneurs and businesses the chance to compete on an equal playing field with other countries. These countries have more tightly controlled economies.
Cuba has the most extreme state-run economy. This is due to its Communist regime which has made limited concessions to economic liberalism. Venezuela is, undoubtedly, the country with the most extreme state economy. It is also currently facing a socioeconomic as well as political crisis.
Argentina has experienced its fair share instability and command-oriented economic events courtesy President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. These include price controls and drama about possession of Falkland Islands. Inflation of 26%, strikes by police and nationalization of YPF to name a few. Brazil is known for being regressive and is frequently feared. There is still much red tape, and the tax rate is significantly higher than its peers.
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Notable Market-Oriented Economic Economies in Latin America
Mexico’s efforts at attracting and growing businesses are not restricted to Mexico City. Guadalajara is being emphasized as a tech and digital growth destination just like Bogota in Colombia is an established economic powerhouse and Medellin is emerging as a vibrant, young digital force. Mexico is the 14th largest economy in the world and it is growing. Mexico is still plagued with drug cartels because of the demand for drugs along the northern border. Ciudad Juarez has been plagued with cartel-induced violence. This is why the Sun Bowl discouraged tourists from crossing the border to Mexico.
FARC remains a threat to Colombia but FARC has been defeated in Colombia since President Uribe was elected. FARC’s reach has been restricted to Colombia’s jungle areas. FARC is also currently in active peace negotiations. Colombia’s economy has plenty of potential for growth in the areas of agriculture, energy and finance as well as digital technology.
American buyers are actively being sought after by Belize because of their beautiful beaches, tax policies and English proficiency. Belize needs to be more open-minded and overcome its negative stigmas.
According to the Heritage Foundation, Chile is ranked #1 in Latin America for economic freedom. Chile is a net trade surplus country with a central banking policy rate of 4.5%. This would appeal to foreign investors. For those who want to benefit from the carry trade with countries/economic zones with extremely low interest rates like the United States, European Union and Japan, trading the Chilean Peso might be worthwhile. Chile has low inflation, and it has policies that do not only benefit copper exports. Morgan Stanley predicts that Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico will all grow on an average of 4.25 percent in 2014.
These countries aren’t facing looting epidemics or fights for toilet paper. They also don’t have leaders trying to escalate violence against another country.
Bitcoin’s Effect on State-Oriented Economies
There are currency controls in all these state-oriented countries. The price controls in Argentina and Venezuela are well-known. Brazil’s government influence over the economy comes from its excessive influence, possible corruption issues, as well as inflationary concerns. Entrepreneurs, investors, as well as ordinary citizens, will look to the marketplace for their needs. These state-oriented economics are associated with red tape, high costs and possible surveillance, as well as rationing. The internet will provide many people with access to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
While it is difficult to compete in global markets in countries that want to be more isolated, the internet and ability to transact in an untraceable fashion on a worldwide marketplace will make it possible for citizens to get the goods and service they require at competitive prices. Venezuelans can now buy toilet paper online from foreign suppliers without the need to use a currency that has been severely debased.
Venezuelans can also engage in entrepreneurship in Venezuela while still living there to help fund their ventures, or possibly flee to Colombia. Venezuelans are more than 26% who use the internet daily. Venezuela has yet to filter the internet. Purchasing Bitcoin is safer than Bolivar.
Bitcoin usage could weaken the government’s control over the economy. It renders its existence useless by adopting private currency. A population that is less tax-revenue-able, and perhaps even more financially armed (you can buy anything on Silk Road), will have less influence over the government and its enforcers. Cryptocurrency usage will also lead to less tax revenue. This thinking process can also be applied in Venezuela-lite Argentina. It is an economy with great potential.
Brazilian businesses could be more exposed abroad and overcome the issue of exotic sovereign currencies. This would help boost their economy. Brazil will be under pressure to continue its good looks and grow after the World Cup and Olympics in 2014. Brazilian businesses looking to do business in other countries will be able to benefit from lower transaction fees, currency familiarity and nationality-ambivalence with Bitcoin users.
Acceptance of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies will help remove the need to convert currencies or make secure purchases with the large number of tourists and business people who are visiting Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Brazil might not be as command-oriented as Argentina but it should reflect the global expectations and aspirations of people around the world.
Bitcoin and its competitors offer greater freedoms, monetary security, entrepreneurial opportunities, transaction security and privacy for state-oriented economies. It could bring about changes in Venezuela’s governance in the same manner that social media helped to bring the Arab Spring into being. Many of the problems that Venezuela is facing are economic and the black marketplace offers an easy solution. A digital wallet in the cloud can prevent assets being taken away. This is better than keeping them in a bank controlled by the Venezuelan government.
The Role of Bitcoin in Economic Growth for Pacific Countries
The entrepreneurial spirit described in the preceding section is at a lower level in Colombia, Mexico Chile and Peru. Colombia and Mexico both have cities that are looking to be global players in the digital world. With lower transaction and exchange costs, it would be easier to attract businesses from Europe, Canada and the United States. PayPal and credit cards charge transaction fees for international transactions. The fee will be lower and PayPal will remove it.
Latin American outsourcing is poised to grow as call centers and design firms as well as independent contractors can not only compete like they do now but are also able accept Bitcoin and other crypto currencies. This will allow them to increase their business. It’s not a new trend. It’s simply a simpler and cheaper way to do business. The sale will be easier if there are fewer barriers to purchase. This will also help Latin American businesses to become global which can lead Venture Capital growth.
Bitcoin will allow for more international business transactions and economic growth in Latin America. These benefits are different because these countries do not have a pressing need for stability, but they have an insatiable hunger for growth.
Adopting cryptocurrency in these countries can help you compete globally, increase your economic development, improve your perceptions, lower transaction fees and transactional security. A service contract can be awarded to a Medellin startup or Cartagena startup. A major benefit of removing nationality restrictions from transactions is the ability to concentrate on the services and costs.
The countries’ consumers also win as they gain purchasing power due to the fact that some items are more costly in their home markets than in other markets. It is easy, affordable, quick, secure, and simple to send money to relatives in your native country by ex-pats or immigrants. This can be a great way to boost local economies.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies make the world smaller just like air travel, internet, telecommunications and social media. Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, promotes globalization. Latin America will benefit from this opportunity.