Xapo, a bitcoin wallet that claims the largest capitalization in the bitcoin industry and a reputation for not fearing controversy, has jumped into Argentina’s battle with Uber by allowing Uber Argentina to accept Xapo card payments.
Uber sent a tweet on July 3 saying “Pay your trips with Bitcoin! Loading your card @Xapo obtains a $ 30 discount on your next trip without code.”
Xapo: No Official Statement
Xapo has not made an official statement on the offer yet, but it did email some customers about the partnership, according to razorsforex. Xapo provided discount codes for riders to use in Argentina. The email, posted on Reddit, stated: “Our special alliance with Uber Argentina gives you important discounts. Add your Xapo card in Uber and use these codes to get discounts.”
Uber customers can use the code “BTCBA” for a 30-peso discount on their next ride, while new customers can use “UBERconBTC” for a 1000-peso discount on their first ride.
The action demonstrates Xapo’s lack of fear for controversy. By allowing Argentines to pay for Uber rides, Xapo demonstrates bitcoin’s anti-censorship features.
Argentina has prohibited credit card companies about doing business with Uber. Argentine politicians have sided with labor leaders trying to keep Uber out of the transportation business.
Xapo Capitalizes On Dispute
The Argentine dispute has created an opportunity for Xapo to gain users in a new market. A Reddit post noted that prior to its alliance with Uber, Xapo was not usable in the country. Another post noted that Xapo works well for business and family uses.
The partnership also gives Argentines a new way to use bitcoin. The Xapo card holders load the card using bitcoin, and the card pays the driver in pesos, according to Reddit comments.
“Convenient and cheap enough alternative to old school banks,” one Reddit post noted.
Another Reddit post encouraged readers to load Xapo with bitcoin, spend the card when the bitcoin price is high, then use other cards when the bitcoin price is low. Some Reddit posts noted the irony in the fact that Uber has not previously accepted bitcoin payments.
The city of Buenos Aires has gone as far as launching its own ride-hailing app to fight Uber.
Buenos Aires Launches Ride Sharing
A letter leaked to social media last week in which the government of Buenos Aires said it is launching its own ride-hailing app matching taxis and passengers has fueled the controversy surrounding Uber’s arrival in Argentina, according to PanamPost, an Americas news outlet.
Juan Jose Mendez, the city’s transportation secretary, ordered the confiscation of Uber cards and sent taxis a notice announcing the new BA Taxi app. The app will be available for all taxi drivers, whether or not they work for a taxi association.
Like other e-hailing apps, BA Taxi will have two versions, one for drivers and another for passengers. Customers will be able to request rides and the system will forward it to the nearest driver, according to the Argentine newspaper La Nación.
Passengers will also be able to pay using credit cards. La Nación further noted the app will commence operations before the end of the year.
Legal Dispute Continues
Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta said Uber does not meet the city’s requirements to operate as a public transportation system.
Argentina President Mauricio Macri also sided with the taxi drivers, whom he called “a symbol of Buenos Aires and of Argentina.”
A judge in April ordered Uber to stop operating in Buenos Aires, although the ban has not been effective for technical reasons.
Uber claims its services are legal and is contesting the decision.
Featured image from Shutterstock.