Argentina elects pro-Bitcoin president Javier Milei
Milei has been an outspoken critic of Argentina’s central bank and a vocal supporter of Bitcoin and crypto
Facundo Florit/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks
A runoff election in Argentina, Sunday, resulted in a win for Javier Milei, a libertarian on the political right who wants to dollarize the country’s economy and has expressed support for Bitcoin.
Milei won about 56% of the vote versus just over 44% in the runoff, in Latin America’s third most populous nation.
In a country which has recently witnessed triple-digit rates of inflation, Milei sees bitcoin and digital currencies as an effort to “return money to its original creator: the private sector.”
Emphasizing Bitcoin’s finite supply, he regards it as a more secure alternative to traditional mediums like gold or silver.
Milei, known for his anti-central banking stance, has criticized the central bank for “cheating good people” through inflationary tax. He claimed that he would “blow it up,” calling it a scam, even releasing a cinematic political ad in 2021 while running for a seat in parliament, in which he’s seen destroying a model representing the central bank with a Thor-like hammer.
His criticism is particularly poignant given Argentina’s high inflation rates, which reached 135% in 2023. The peso has fallen in value, resulting in all-time highs for bitcoin (BTC), currently about ARS 13.2 million per BTC.
Milei has been involved in controversies, including being sued for allegedly promoting a Ponzi scheme called Coinx in Argentina. He denied any misconduct, comparing the company’s actions to those of a typical bank.
Despite his support for cryptocurrencies, Milei has not proposed making bitcoin legal tender in Argentina, as it is in El Salvador. Instead, he has called for dollarizing the Argentine economy, as a way of dealing with the country’s rampant inflation problem.
While Milei’s views on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies reflect a strong preference for private sector-controlled money, and a skepticism towards central banking, it’s unclear what a Milei administration will mean in practice when it comes to integrating crypto into national economic policies.
Updated November 20, 2023 at 8:35 am ET, clarifying Milei’s anti-central bank political ad was from 2021.
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