Bitcoins are not considered legal currency in Argentina because they are not issued by the Central Bank and therefore are not considered legal tender.
Although bitcoins are not specifically regulated, they are increasingly being used. Bitcoin may be considered a good or a thing under the Civil Code, and transactions with bitcoins may be governed by the rules of the sale of goods under the Civil Code. In 2014, finance authorities warned entities and individuals who are required by law to report suspicious transactions involving money laundering or terrorism financing to be particularly alert with regard to operations carried out with virtual currency.
In December 2017 an amendment to the Law on Income Tax provided that the profits derived from the sale of digital currency will be considered income from stock and bonds and taxed as such.
G20 Calls for Cryptocurrency Regulation Recommendations by July 2018
Under the National Constitution of Argentina the only authority capable of issuing legal currency is the Central Bank. Bitcoins are not legal currency strictly speaking, because they are not issued by the government monetary authority and therefore are not legal tender. They may be considered money but not legal currency, since they are not a mandatory means of cancelling debts or obligations. Although bitcoins are not specifically regulated, they are increasingly being used in Argentina, a country that has strict control over foreign currencies. According to some experts a bitcoin may be considered a good or a thing under the Civil Code, and transactions with bitcoins may be governed by the rules of the sale of goods under the Civil Code.
A formal recognition of electronic currency was issued by the Unidad de Información Financiera (UIF) (Financial Information Unit) of the Ministry of Finance through Resolution 300/2014, which warned entities and individuals required by law to report suspicious transactions involving money laundering or terrorism financing to be particularly alert with regard to operations carried out with virtual currency. The UIF Resolution differentiates “virtual currency” and “electronic currency,” stating that the latter involves the electronic transfer of legal tender while virtual currency transactions do not involve legal tender.
In spite of the expectations for the G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 countries in Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 19–20, 2018, no specific guidelines or regulatory framework on cryptocurrencies were issued. The group only mentioned the issue, giving alerts as to its risks for the consumer and investors, but gave no indication as to the way it should be approached by the authorities, except for a call upon international standard-setting bodies to monitor cryptocurrencies and their risks while evaluating a multilateral response if appropriate.
The government is planning to regulate transactions with bitcoins in the country this year.The plan is to amend the Law on Money Laundering to add stock markets, wallets, and brokers as entities required to report transactions with bitcoins to official entities.
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The latest amendment to the Income Tax law provides that the profit derived from the sale of digital currency will be considered income and taxed as such. Income derived from the sale of digital currency is taxed at 15% when derived from either Argentine or foreign sources. The tax treatment of cryptocurrency corresponds with the treatment of profits on securities and bonds, which represent a liability in favor of the holder, which is not true in the case of cryptocurrencies.
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Prepared by Graciela Rodriguez-Ferrand
Senior Foreign Law Specialist
 José Crettaz, Bitcoin: Fiebre Argentina por la Máquina de Dinero Digital [Bitcoin: Argentine Fever for the Digital Money Machine], La Nación (June 30, 2013), http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1596773-bitcoin-pasion-argentina-por-la-nueva-maquina-de-hacer-billetes-digitales, archived athttps://perma.cc/PMU9-KWB5; Diego Geddes, Argentina es uno de los países que más usa el bitcoin [Argentina Is One of the Countries that Uses the Bitcoin], Clarín (Dec.
31, 2013), http://www.clarin.com/sociedad/Argentina-paises-Bitcoin-moneda-virtual_0_1057694271.html, archived athttps://perma.cc/N8SA-5H9L.
Id. art. 90, para.
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Last Updated: 08/16/2019