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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.

I.  Applicable Rules

Under the National Constitution of Argentina[1] the only authority capable of issuing legal currency is the Central Bank.[2]  Bitcoins are not legal currency strictly speaking, because they are not issued by the government monetary authority and therefore are not legal tender.[3]  They may be considered money but not legal currency, since they are not a mandatory means of cancelling debts or obligations.[4]  Although bitcoins are not specifically regulated, they are increasingly being used in Argentina, a country that has strict control over foreign currencies.[5]  According to some experts[6] a bitcoin may be considered a good or a thing under the Civil Code,[7] and transactions with bitcoins may be governed by the rules of the sale of goods under the Civil Code.[8]

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.[9]  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.[10]

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.[11]  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.[12]

The government is planning to regulate transactions with bitcoins in the country this year.[13]  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.[14]

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II.  Taxation

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.[15] Income derived from the sale of digital currency is taxed at 15% when derived from either Argentine or foreign sources.[16] 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.[17]

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Prepared by Graciela Rodriguez-Ferrand
Senior Foreign Law Specialist
June 2018


[1] Constitución de la Nación Argentina [National Constitution of Argentina] art. 75, para. 6, Boletín Oficial [BO], Aug. 22, 1994, http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/0-4999/804/norma.htm, archived at https://perma.cc/XN2T-C5G7.

[2] Ley No. 24.144, Carta Orgánica del Banco Central de la República Argentina [Law No. 24,144, Charter of the Central Bank of the Republic of Argentina] art. 30, BO, Oct. 13, 1992, http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infoleg Internet/anexos/0-4999/542/texact.htm, archived at https://perma.cc/2CVW-8VNX.

[3] El Banco Central Argentino Considera Riesgoso Operar con Bitcoins [Central Bank of Argentina Considers Risky Operations with Bitcoins], Infotechnology (May 28, 2014), http://www.infotechnology.com/internet/El-Banco-Central-argentino-considera-riesgoso-operar-con-bitcoins-20140528-0003.html, archived at https://perma.cc/746A-JBYG.

[4] Mara Laudonia, El Vacío Legal del Bitcoin, ¿Es o No Es Dinero? [The Legal Vacuum of the Bitcoin, Is It or Is It Not Money?], Telam (Feb. 28, 2018), http://www.telam.com.ar/notas/201702/180185-el-vacio-legal-del-bitcoin-es-o-no-es-dinero.html, archived at https://perma.cc/P2WE-L8F9.

[5] 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 at https://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 at https://perma.cc/N8SA-5H9L.

[6] See, e.g., Andres Chomczyk, Situación Legal del Bitcoin en Argentina, ElBitcoin.org (Oct. 10, 2013), http://elbitcoin.org/situacion-legal-de-bitcoin-en-argentina, archived at https://perma.cc/43K8-ZYYK.

[8] Id. art. 1323.

[9] Unidad de Información Financiera, Resolución 300/14 Prevención del Lavado de Activos y de la Financiación del Terrorismo, para. 9, BO, July 10, 2014, http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/230000-234999/231930/norma.htm, archived at https://perma.cc/G2L7-9S2Q.

[10] Id. art. 2.

[11] Froilan Fernández, Sin Decisiones sobre los Criptoactivos Concluye Reunión del G20 [G-20 Meeting Concludes Without a Decision on Cryptocurrency], Cryptonoticias (Mar. 20, 2018), https://www.criptonoticias.com/ regulacion/sin-decisiones-criptoativos-concluye-reunion-g20/, archived at https://perma.cc/WH34-FQSE.

[12] Communiqué, Finance Ministers & Central Bank Governors, G20, Mar. 19–20, 2018, Buenos Aires, Argentina, https://back-g20.argentina.gob.ar/sites/default/files/media/communique_g20.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/65UD-BB58.

[13] Olivera Doll & Camila Russo, Argentina Supervisaría Operaciones en Bitcoins a Partir de 2018, Bloomberg Latam Noticias (Dec. 7, 2017) https://www.bloomberg.com/latam/blog/argentina-supervisaria-operaciones-en-bitcoins-partir-de-2018/, archived at https://perma.cc/K6NS-GQYL.

[14] Id.

[15] Ley 27430 de Modificación del Impuesto a las Ganancias [Law 27430 Amending the Income Tax Law] art. 2, BO, Dec. 29, 2017, http://www.telam.com.ar/notas/201702/180185-el-vacio-legal-del-bitcoin-es-o-no-es-dinero.html, archived at https://perma.cc/9PBP-BLUJ.

[16] Id. art. 90, para. 2.

[17] Bitcoin Argentina, Sobre el Proyecto de Gravar las Monedas Digitales como Renta Financiera de Acciones y Bonos [About the Bill that Taxes Digital Currency as a Financial Income from Stock and Bonds] 2, last para. (Nov. 17, 2017), https://www.bitcoinargentina.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2017/11/ proyecto-impuesto-a-las-ganancias-bitcoin.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/B8TG-XQYP.

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Last Updated: 06/14/2018