Argentina has the most US dollars in circulation of any country after the US. Argentina’s high inflation rate, currency controls, and multiple devaluations make it difficult for people to plan for their future. Saving is hard, and many people don’t have the tools to save efficiently.
Manuel Beaudroit is co-founder and CEO of Belo, a digital wallet that helps Latin Americans plan for their financial futures by saving and spending in both fiat and crypto.
Manuel started out studying biology, worked at Accenture, and then created multiple businesses, including a brand of customized USB flash drives, before starting Belo.
In this episode of Crossing Borders, I sat down with Manuel to talk about Belo, his thoughts on entrepreneurship in Argentina, and how Belo is solving a pressing financial problem. We also talk about the misunderstandings surrounding cryptocurrencies.
Why can it be hard to save money in Latin America?
Inflation in Argentina is approximately 60-70% per year, and for many years acquiring US dollars was the most efficient way to save money. At the same time, government regulations and currency devaluation made it increasingly complex for people to buy US dollars.
In this episode, Manuel explains why crypto is becoming popular among Argentines and other Latin Americans and why many are eager to try new financial technologies.
Transforming people’s perceptions of cryptocurrency
Retail-oriented cryptocurrency products are often built with complex technologies. Sometimes they mimic Wall Street dynamics, but very few people understand how to trade stocks without losing lots of money. Complex user experiences won’t work.
Manuel finds that the cryptocurrency industry insists on talking about the technology that surrounds it. Instead, he believes it should focus on discussing the problems it can solve. In this episode, Manuel shares why one of Belo’s main features is its simplicity and accessibility.
Outline of this episode:
- [01:20] – About Belo
- [01:59] – What does inflation look like in Latin America versus the U.S.?
- [04:30] – Manuel’s background
- [06:00] – Previous ventures before Belo
- [10:27] – Why is bitcoin popular in Argentina?
- [13:25] – Why Manuel started Belo instead of anything else
- [16:30] – How clients use Belo
- [19:43] – How will Belo’s use cases and products evolve?
- [23:11] – Misunderstandings of crypto and Web3
- [25:56] – Book recommendations
- [26:45] – Advice to younger self
- [28:20] – What’s next for Belo
Resources and people mentioned: