Maybe you haven't heard of Taringa! but that's about to change. Think of Taringa! as a combination of Facebook and Reddit for Latin America. Based in Argentina, Taringa! claims a unique user base of 75 million, second only to Facebook itself in the region among social networks. And they have caught the bitcoin bug, with the help of Xapo, the California-based Bitcoin wallet and service provider.
Taringa! sees the economic value in Bitcoin
Bitcoin's innovations solve a very important economic problem for Taringa! and many other growing businesses outside of Western society. Many people in Latin America do not have bank accounts or are "unbanked". The infrastructure for widespread credit card account usage and payments lacks as well. Taringa! management sees the mainstream economic system as limiting to their growth potential, and Bitcoin can help fill in these huge gaps.
“We have had this on our mind mainly because we think we can bring more people to create great content. And also because we think that it’s fair, given that all this that we have is just because our users are creating the content,” Mr. Botbol told the Wall Street Journal. “But we never were able to do that because the infrastructure is horrendous – even if you send someone a check, [without sufficient banking services] they don’t know what to do with that.”
In partnership with Xapo, Taringa! will look to incorporate a revenue-sharing program similar to what YouTube offers users and members who generate viral content. If your content is really generating revenue, you will receive Bitcoin as an incentive. The company hopes this will grow the network's user base, and the Argentinian market is already well-versed in Bitcoin, and many use it due to major economic problems with the current economic system. The service is used far beyond Argentina, and can eliminate the flaws in the current economic paradigm, and provide a global currency that doesn't require ID, cards, or bank account. I spoke with Tiburcio de la Cárcova, head of platform at Xapo, about this project and the goals of this collaboration.
"The overarching goal for the project is to allow Taringa to share its revenue stream with its users. Top contributors to the network will receive a portion of revenue in the form of bitcoin from Taringa as part of new additions to its business model. The partnership will also enable Taringa’s 75 million users to accept, trade, and tip each other in bitcoin for the content posted to the platform. Using the Xapo wallet to facilitate bitcoin transactions on Taringa’s platform has the potential to impact millions of lives. Much of Latin America does not have access to a bank account, but do have access to a smartphone and thus access to bitcoin and Taringa. The ability to exchange in bitcoin is an exceptional alternative to traditional means of money transfer."
As a side note, Xapo made news last year in regards to their debit card program for Bitcoin, starting to ship cards to consumer last summer. Xapo’s debit cards began shipping in July 2014, and the program is still in beta, which means we're still perfecting all aspects of it. According to Mr. Cárcova, Xapo has been advised by its card program manager that it cannot currently issue debit cards in the U.S., India, and a few other countries. So, Xapo Bitcoin debit cards are not currently usable/available in some countries due to regulation issues that are still pending.
Countries and business platforms playing to win still see the Bitcoin glass as half full while others who are not ready to get ahead only see a glass half empty. Know any people like that? Business imitates life in many ways.
Innovations like Bitcoin may allow countries and systems hamstrung by the flaws in current financial systems to leap frog ahead of many of the top networks in Western society, not out of greed, but out of necessity. There are many limitations in 20th century systems that people who use Bitcoin effectively will never encounter again. This may be the start of a new level of international business adoption for Bitcoin. For Taringa!, bigger, more established economic systems aren't better. Better economic systems are better.