Crypto Weekly: Hunting for havens

STORY: From why some are reaching for crypto as a safe haven, to why Mastercard thinks bitcoin could still prove priceless, these were the week’s top stories in the world of digital money.

Crypto is making a fresh claim to safe-haven status, at least in countries afflicted by high inflation.

Just over 27% of people own some digital currency in Turkey, the highest rate in the world.

And it’s 23.5% in Argentina.

Both countries face soaring prices and plunging currencies.

That seems to have driven flows into so-called “stablecoins”, which are pegged to the dollar or gold.

Investors still await the launch of El Salvador’s promised bitcoin bond.

Though the legal framework has been set, the issue remains in limbo after a year when crypto values tumbled.

Strategist Samson Mow, who helped drive El Salvador’s bitcoin adoption, says the country should wait for better market conditions before pressing ahead.

But he says Ecuador and Peru are among nations that could also adopt crypto as legal tender:

“Many countries in Latin America will be adopting bitcoin. El Salvador is the first, but we know that many other countries in the region are starting to look towards it, and bitcoin it’s starting to become a pressing part of political platforms for reelection.”

No officials in either country would comment on the claims.

And Mastercard is stepping up a move into crypto payments, despite all the recent scandals.

It already partners with exchanges including Binance, and says it wants more such deals.

Binance cards issued by Mastercard allow users to make payments in traditional currencies, funded by their digital assets.

Rivals Visa and American Express take a different view, having paused plans for new crypto partnerships.