Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is seeing a surge in clients due to rising inflation and a historically strong dollar that has depressed emerging market currencies, an executive told Reuters on Wednesday, without disclosing numbers.

“Now that we are seeing inflation ramping up worldwide, we are seeing that more and more people are seeking cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, as a way to protect themselves from inflation,” said Maximiliano Hinz, who heads Binance in Latin America, during an interview in Lima.

Hinz pointed to the example of Argentina, where annual inflation is at 90 percent. The country has grown into one of the company’s top markets, he said, together with Brazil and Mexico.

Argentina saw citizens pour savings into Bitcoin this year despite a crash in cryptocurrency prices.

While El Salvador has made headlines for adopting Bitcoin as legal tender, Hinz said other Latin American nations have yet to pass meaningful cryptocurrency legislation, although he does not necessarily consider that a bad thing for the company.

“Regulation is a framework, but it’s not always negative that something isn’t regulated,” he said. “If something isn’t banned, then it’s legal.”

Under President Nayib Bukele, El Salvador has made a massive bet on Bitcoin, making it legal tender and buying more than $100 million (roughly Rs. 793 crore) worth of the cryptocurrency, which have lost about 50 percent of their value amid a broader cryptocurrency selloff this year.

Meanwhile, the company recently announced that co-founder Yi He will take over as head of its venture capital investing and incubator arm, Binance Labs. The operation has invested in over 200 projects in the blockchain space, and Binance says it manages assets totaling $7.5 billion (roughly Rs. 59,374 crore), making it one of the largest VC players in the industry. Yi said her vision is to drive future adoption of blockchain technology in Web 3 projects by “building the standard for the blockchain industry.”

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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