Uber Argentina Enlists Bitcoin Partner in Fight to Continue Service

The Argentinian subsidiary of ridesharing giant Uber is turning to a bitcoin payment option amid a crackdown by local authorities.

AccessTimeIconJul 5, 2016 at 9:17 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 10, 2024 at 2:31 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

The Argentinian subsidiary of international ridesharing giant Uber is turning to bitcoin amid what has been described as a crackdown by local authorities on its operations.

Bitcoin industry startup Xapo told CoinDesk today that is has entered a partnership with Uber that allows the company to accept its bitcoin debit cards, and for users to use the payment option when traveling domestically or abroad.

First revealed in a tweet by Uber Argentina this weekend, the action is the latest in an escalation between law enforcement and the Silicon Valley startup that centers on whether Uber is properly incorporated in the South American country, or acted illegally in launching its product in the country.

To date, the dispute has seen police raid the homes of individuals suspected to be connected with the company, as well as actions taken against domestic payments providers to prevent them from processing Uber transactions, according to AFP.

Xapo representatives said they see the event as a way to boost adoption of the startup's product, which allows users to load the debit card with bitcoin, and for that bitcoin to be converted at the point-of-sale in purchases over traditional card rails.

Xapo product manager Anni Rautio told CoinDesk:

"This is a win for all local Uber users and drivers, and for Uber as a company, as they are able to continue operations in Argentina through Xapo's Debit Card. It's also great news for bitcoin: it's one step closer to seeing mainstream companies adopt bitcoin."

Rautio said that the partnership began last week, and that Xapo has already seen an increase in interest for its debit card product following the announcement.

While it remains to be seen whether this will boost bitcoin use in the region, local news sources report 550,000 users have downloaded the app and the situation seems likely to continue. Uber officials have called resistance to its startup in Buenos Aires the “fiercest” it has experienced around the world, all the while showing signs it intends to push forward in an effort to serve users.

Prior to the partnership with Xapo, Uber Argentina had made other alternative payment methods available including CardNow, Papipago and Neteller.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.