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One Spanish city is aiming to become Europe’s first crypto-friendly. Argentines are using black market exchanges dubbed “crypto caves” to swap pesos for stablecoins. And a former United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) official cheered on a class suit against the NBA.
Spanish city demonstrates big crypto ambitions by digitizing local stores
Torrevieja, a tourist hub in the Alicante province of Spain with a population of 82,000, has announced its ambition to become “the first crypto-friendly city in Europe” by letting its stores accept cryptocurrencies.
To transform Torrevieja into a crypto-friendly city in Europe, the local government and businesses will digitize local commerce using blockchain technology.
The first phase will “focus on promoting commerce” through the use of cryptocurrencies in transactions, allowing customers to pay for products and services with cryptocurrencies and “other crypto assets.”
The city will also try to recover “natural spaces” and promote the creation of new jobs and financing for companies in the technology sector.
Local Councilor for Commerce Rosario Martínez Chazarra expressed her hope that the measures will incentivize crypto owners. She also indicated that the University of Alicante will launch special digital payment courses for local businesses.
Argentines are using “crypto caves” to buy stablecoins and escape inflation
In Argentina, black market exchanges known as “crypto caves” have emerged selling U.S. dollar stablecoins to locals looking to skirt strict currency controls and the triple-digit inflation of the Argentine peso.
These underground peer-to-peer exchanges operate discreetly — tucked away in “non-visible places,” CryptoMarket’s strategic alliances manager Guillermo Escudero told . Locals can get a better rate than the official exchange rate if they use a crypto cave to buy stablecoins like Tether USDT $1.00.
I bought some Pesos in Argentina via a P2P exchange using USDT on Tron.
Here’s my experience
First of all, why go P2P?
Because the official USD-ARS exchange rate is 2.5-3x worse than the “blue dollar” rate. I actually tried: I withdrew 30€ from an ATM, paid 10€ in… pic.twitter.com/KC4uymdfyq— Alexei Zamyatin (@alexeiZamyatin) November 13, 2023
Crypto caves emerged from longstanding “financial caves” — entities that once operated as money exchanges but went into hiding when Argentina brought in currency controls in the 1980s — and still deal in the “blue dollar,” the country’s unofficial and informal dollar rate.
Escudero said some crypto caves have been investigated and even raided by authorities, but they don’t give off a “bad image” to locals. As Argentina’s inflation rate hit a 32-year high of 211.4% in 2023, crypto caves are one of the few places to trade away inflation-ridden pesos.
Escudero said currency controls are “widely expected” to be wiped under Milei’s leadership, “but since the tax pressure is so high in Argentina, we will continue to have a ‘black market’ that has a preference to operate under the radar of the comptroller entities.”
Former SEC official compares NBA crypto partnership to heroin
John Reed Stark, the former internet enforcement head for the SEC, has sided with crypto investors in their lawsuit against the NBA.
Stark took to X to criticize the NBA for allowing the Dallas Mavericks to partner with the now-defunct Voyager Digital crypto exchange. Like other digital asset platforms, Voyager went belly up in 2022 amid crypto winter. It reached a $1.65 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in November 2023.
The NBA is Charged With Crypto Fraud: It’s About Time.
The crypto carnage fallout continues as Voyager’s investors have just filed a 108-page proposed class action against the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the law firm McCarter & English for their roles in the… pic.twitter.com/c3qLqZDj58— John Reed Stark (@JohnReedStark) February 8, 2024