Argentina has chosen Javier Milei, a pro-bitcoin and far-right populist figure, as its new president. Milei, celebrated for his critical stance against central banks, won the presidential run-off on November 19 with an impressive 55% of the votes. This decisive victory, placed him nearly 3 million votes ahead of his opponent.
The election results reflect a significant political shift in Argentina, influenced heavily by Milei’s strong opposition to the central bank, which he labels a “scam” and an instrument for politicians to levy inflationary taxes on the populace. His views have found resonance amidst Argentina’s daunting inflation crisis, with the Argentine peso experiencing a staggering 140% annual inflation over the past year.
Milei’s victory is not just a political statement but also a potential game-changer for bitcoin. The president-elect sees bitcoin as a key to reviving the economy, advocating for monetary control to return to the private sector. However, it is important to note that Milei has not yet proposed making Bitcoin
Intriguingly, Javier Milei’s past tenure as Chief Economist at Corporación América International and his listing on the World Economic Forum — roles typically associated with traditional finance — presents a contrast to his current pro-bitcoin stance. This difference in his professional background and his advocacy for bitcoin as legal tender in Argentina adds complexity to his economic policies, raising questions about how his past association with traditional economic systems aligns with his current libertarian views.
The contrast between Milei and his opponent Sergio Massa, the current Minister of Economy, was stark. Massa had proposed launching a central bank digital currency to combat Argentina’s inflation crisis, showcasing the divergent economic philosophies within the country’s political spectrum.
Milei’s plans include a radical departure from traditional economic policies. He has vowed to shut down the central bank, replace the Argentine peso with the US dollar, and embrace decentralized finance. His approach has been termed ‘economic shock therapy’, signaling a drastic shift from Argentina’s current financial strategy.
Reflecting on the election outcome, Fernando Nikolić, a bitcoin market sentiment analyst and Communications Director at Blockstream, tweeted , “The mafia responsible for my family – and hundreds of thousands of others – having to leave Argentina to find prosperity have been defeated by Javier Milei. Words can’t describe how that feels.”
While many applaud Milei’s pro-bitcoin stance and criticism of central banking, his views on other social issues have raised concerns. Opposing views emerge on Milei’s position on social freedoms.
Joe Nakamoto, discussing Milei’s stance on abortion, expressed difficulty reconciling Milei’s libertarian views with his opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape. Ben De Waal echoed these sentiments, noting Milei’s perceived anti-freedom stance on issues like abortion, death with dignity, and children’s rights, along with his inclination towards conspiracy theory-style thinking on certain topics.
Fernando Nikolić, in an exclusive statement, offered context on Milei’s political stance, particularly in regards to contentious issues. Nikolić stated: ‘He has expressed opposition to abortion, but he has also said to take it to voting to let people decide. This is key. He is not a dictator, and changes to laws have to go through the system. Remember, there are certain things you have to say to get the votes from certain cohorts, and I would take things politicians trying to win an election say with a pinch of salt. For example, Milei has backtracked on statements regarding the Pope and gay marriage that he, or others from his party, have said before. But Argentina is in an emergency, and the country has structural, larger issues to fix. I don’t even think the abortion issue is on Milei’s mind.’
Milei’s presidency could potentially lead Argentina closer to adopting bitcoin as a legal tender and holding it as a reserve asset, following El Salvador’s example. However, his administration’s impact on bitcoin prices remains speculative. Integrating bitcoin into Argentina’s economy could foster a more decentralized and inflation-resistant financial system, potentially influencing bitcoin’s value positively.
Javier Milei’s election as President of Argentina heralds a potentially transformative era for both the nation’s economic policies and the role of bitcoin in its financial system. The balance between his bold economic strategies and the concerns over his social policies will be a critical factor in shaping Argentina’s future under his leadership.
First appeared on www.forbes.com