In Argentina, Uber and credit card companies are at odds because of the debate on the lawfulness of Uber driving services in the country. Due to this, Uber Argentina is encouraging customers to use Xapo instead, utilizing bitcoin to get around the credit card blockade.
According to Standford Law School, the Consumers Protection Agency in the City of Buenos Aires issued an injunction ordering telecoms to block the Uber App and credit card companies to block any transaction related to the Uber App. The injunction was issued against telecoms and credit cards as “contributors” to an allegedly harmful activity. A few days later, also a judge in Buenos Aires ordered credit card companies to cease their operations with Uber.
This is a potentially disruptive change to Uber, however, using the ingenuity of bitcoin, Uber is able to get around this by asking customers to use Xapo instead. Xapo is a bitcoin exchange and wallet based in Switzerland, but with strong connections to Argentina from the founder of Xapo, Wences Casares, who is originally from Patagonia.
In a tweet sent out from the official Uber Argentina account, they wrote:
¡Pagá tus viajes con Bitcoin! Cargándo tu tarjeta @Xapo obtenés $30 de descuento en tu próximo viaje sin necesidad de código.
— Uber Argentina (@Uber_ARG) July 3, 2016
Roughly translated, it means “Pay your travel with Bitcoin! Load your @Xapo card to get $30 discount on your next trip without requiring code.”
If Uber customers in Argentina side with them on the issue, there could potentially be an increase of people that will be coming to Xapo in order to use Uber. This could also cause a butterfly affect in Argentina of people wanting to learn more about bitcoin.
The same issue happened to the Paxful exchange when credit cards were blocked from the classified ads website Backpage.com. When this happened, it catapulted the Paxful userbase where recently they said they are processing around 8,000 bitcoin transactions per day. Paxful called this the “Backpage effect.”
Could this be the “Uber effect” in Argentina for Xapo? Let us know in the comments below!