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Milei presidential victory fuels optimism in Argentina’s Bitcoin community

Milei presidential victory fuels optimism in Argentina’s Bitcoin community


After a long and dramatic presidential race,

libertarian candidate Javier Milei triumphed in Argentina’s presidential election on Nov. 19.

Milei promises to abolish the country’s

central bank

, among a slew of other radical policy changes capturing the attention and imagination of the crypto community.

With 99% of the vote counted on Sunday, Nov. 19, Milei was declared the winner. The flamboyant politician secured the favor of 55% of the electorate, with three million more ballots to his name than rival Sergio Massa.

Fernando Nikolić

, an Argentine

Bitcoin

(BTC) advocate and founder of media analyst firm Bitcoin Perception, told Cointelegraph that Milei “has spoken positively about

Bitcoin

when asked about it in interviews,” but also pointed out that enthusiasm should be tempered by the fact that “passing any sort of law that is considered ‘

Bitcoin

-friendly’ is not a part of his official program.”

Nikolić added that as an advocate for free market money, Milei is also unlikely to pass any laws that would harm

Bitcoin

.

Iván Paz, the CEO of crypto trading platform Trading Different, took a positive view of the election results. According to Paz, Milei’s free market policy agenda is likely to reinvigorate Argentina’s flagging economy.

“Argentina will enter a cycle of accelerated economic recovery, driven by the confidence of local and foreign investors,” Paz told Cointelegraph. “The reduction of the tax burden and the legal guarantee will once again make Argentina an attractive country to project in the long term.”

Many Argentinians now look forward to sweeping reforms. Camilo Jorajuría de León, vice-president of

Bitcoin

Argentina, reminded the incoming president to keep his electoral promises:

Bitcoin

is for monetary freedom, and that was precisely one of the proposals of the president-elect. As

Bitcoin

ers, we hope he fulfills his promise.”

Milei’s first task in office will be taming the nation’s runaway inflation, which hit 143% in October. For comparison, United States inflation peaked at 9.1% in June 2022 and is now 3.2%. With the spending power of the Argentine peso in freefall, it’s little wonder that Argentinians voted for the candidate proposing to cut almost all public expenditure and big government.

Milei promises to reinvent and reinvigorate Argentina’s economy with a completely new approach. The beliefs that underpin the policy agenda of the libertarian anarcho-capitalist are likely to resonate with many in the crypto community.

His headline policies include “blowing up” the central bank to prevent money printing, ditching the peso in favor of the U.S. dollar and scrapping almost every form of welfare in the country.

The president-elect confirmed his future plan for government departments in a dramatic video circulating on social media.

“Ministry of Sports and Tourism — out!” said Milei. “Ministry of Culture — out! Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development — out!” In the video, Milei punctuates every cut by tearing the name of the department off a whiteboard and tossing it aside.

Milei on

Bitcoin

While

President-elect Milei

may embody a maverick spirit that appeals to

Bitcoin

ers and the ideological proclivities of the cryptosphere, that is not the same thing as actively supporting it.

The president-elect previously outlined why

Bitcoin

is useful as a monetary instrument free from state control. In a video posted to Reddit’s r/bitcoin 11 months ago, Milei states his position.

“What is the point? The point is that the first thing we have to understand is that the central bank is a scam,” said Milei. “It is a mechanism by which politicians cheat the good people with inflationary tax. What

Bitcoin

is representing is the return of money to its original creator — the private sector.” Milei adds:

Bitcoin

is the natural reaction against central banker scammers and to make the money private again.”

The new president may praise

Bitcoin

as a financial instrument, but that is somewhat different from what

Bitcoin

advocates may wish for. Undoubtedly, there are those who hope Argentina will adopt

Bitcoin

as legal tender.

What

Bitcoin

ers think of

Melei

Cointelegraph asked Nikolić what the election of

Milei

means for

cryptocurrency

advocates.

“I don’t believe this will drastically alter the current landscape,” Nikolić said. “Argentinians have been embracing

Bitcoin

and other

cryptocurrencies

for many years. My hope is that, in the long term, Argentina becomes more entrepreneur-friendly, prosperous and free, helping to mend the significant cracks in the country’s foundational structure.”

Nikolić added that the “widespread adoption of

Bitcoin

across the nation may be slow if 50% of its citizens live below the poverty line and lack an understanding of savings concepts.”

That’s not something that can change overnight.

Milei

’s policy broader economic policies will need time to bed in.

As for the million-dollar question: “Will

Bitcoin

become legal tender in Argentina?” Nikolić suggests that legal tender certification may be marginally less important than it seems.

“I’m of the view that adoption is more robust when it emerges organically from the grassroots rather than being imposed top down. I’m hopeful that

Bitcoin

adoption in Argentina will continue to flourish, especially as the country progresses under

Milei

’s leadership and its people begin to experience improved living conditions.”

The economics of Argentina
Soaring inflation is not the only problem facing

Milei

in government. When the

president-elect

takes office on Dec. 10, he will take the reigns of a country facing a laundry list of economic challenges.

Chief among them is the fact that Argentina is the

International Monetary Fund’s

(IMF) biggest borrower. The country owes the IMF a massive $31 billion. The body gave the president a nod and a wink as early as Monday.

Kristalina Georgieva

, managing director of the IMF, was among those congratulating

Milei

on his electoral success. “We look forward to working closely with him,” she added. Congratulations to

President-elect Javier Milei

@JMilei. We look forward to working closely with him and his administration in the period ahead to develop and implement a strong plan to safeguard macroeconomic stability and strengthen inclusive growth for all Argentinians.— Kristalina Georgieva (@KGeorgieva) November 20, 2023 Economist Nicolás Litvinoff believes

Milei

will need to get the IMF monkey off his back as a matter of first priority.

“I think the most important thing is to regain autonomy in terms of monetary policy. On the one hand, to accumulate reserves in the central bank that are practically non-existent now,” said Litvinoff before adding that

Milei

must “restore the purchasing power of wages to reactivate consumption and the economy[…] but for that, you need the

International Monetary Fund

out of the way.”

Who is

Javier Milei

?

Milei

first came to prominence as an economist, author and political commentator.

Western media outlets compare

Milei

to former U.S. President Donald Trump, but the similarities drawn are often shallow. Both men are populists from outside the political mainstream. Both men rode a wave of public disaffection to electoral success. Both men have unconventional hair. Such comparisons are just as likely to obfuscate as enlighten.

Milei

was born in 1970 in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires. He was raised as a Catholic, which informs his politics to this day. While

Milei

is mostly socially liberal, he is opposed to both abortion and euthanasia. He supports freedom of choice on drugs, guns, prostitution and same-sex marriage.

In his youth,

Milei

sang in a Rolling Stones cover band. His presentation style owes much more to the rock world than to the political.