Argentina's Banco Masventas has revealed that starting Monday it will enable customers to send cross-border payments using bitcoin.
A partnership with Latin America-focused exchange startup Bitex, founded in 2014, the news finds the regional bank using bitcoin as a payments rail in international transactions as an alternative to Swift.
Bitex chief marking officer Manuel Beaudroit told CoinDesk that the startup believes this marks the first time that a domestic bank has adopted bitcoin for cross-border payments.
In statements, Jose Dakak, principal shareholder of Masventas, credited the move to a broader drive by the bank to enhance its digital, smartphone-based services, as well as to lower the bank's cost of service.
"One of the actions was to contract Bitex as a strategic partner in the implementation of the Bitex platform for payments and collections operations for our clients abroad," he said.
While no real-world transactions have been launched yet (the service began today), the bank will soon use bitcoin for real customer transactions, Beaudroit said.
He told CoinDesk:
"The customers will ask the bank to do an international payment, and the bank uses Bitex as a provider. For the customer, it's transparent, they don't touch, they don't see the bitcoin. We are a provider for them, and they are not touching bitcoin."
Argentina flag image via Shutterstock