The partnership enables users in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay to arrange deposits in US dollars to their Mt. Gox accounts. In turn, users can trade their funds for bitcoins within one (Japanese) business day.
Mt. Gox announced the deal at the Latin American Bitcoin Conference, held in Buenos Aires last week.
Customers in these countries can now select AstroPay as a funding option in their account settings, and transfer to Mt. Gox via AstroPay’s system from a drop-down list of selected local banks.
Franco Amati of the Fundación Bitcoin Argentina said that while the AstroPay option seemed to be functioning for the other six countries on Mt. Gox’s list, bank options for Argentina have disappeared after just a couple of days. He claimed that clicking the bank drop-down menu will display a blank field for the country, adding:
"The option to use AstroPay with Mt.Gox in Argentina was available for a few days, but was later removed. The service seems to be still working for Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay, but not for Argentina's Bitcoin community."
"We are not sure what happened. Nonetheless, because of cumbersome regulations and bank issues with international wire transfers, in Argentina, Bitcoin users are already used to buying or selling bitcoins locally, using websites like Conectabitcoin, LatinCoin, LocalBitcoins or even Facebook groups.”
AstroPay is a UK company that operates in Latin America, enabling fast online payments in markets where more regular payment options, like credit and debit cards, are not readily available to all customers.
As well as direct online payment options, the company also provides AstroPay Cards with pre-loaded US dollar-denominated values for purchase with local currency. All transactions are settled offshore in USD.
It is widely accepted as a payment option for online merchants in 11 Latin American countries; the seven on Mt. Gox’s list plus Venezuela, Costa Rica, Paraguay, and Bolivia.