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Argentina elects pro-Bitcoin president Javier Milei

source-logo  blockworks.co 20 November 2023 03:22, UTC

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.”

“With legal tender, they scam you with the inflationary tax… #Bitcoin is the natural reaction against central bank scammers; to make money private again.” – Javier Milei, President of Argentina 🇦🇷🇦🇷pic.twitter.com/Rs2yXFo4e7

— Dylan LeClair 🟠 (@DylanLeClair_) November 19, 2023

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 which he’s seen destroying a model representing the central bank with a Thor-like hammer.

In a recent campaign ad, Javier Milei appears receiving the clothes of Capitan Ancap, his superhero counterpart, and destroying the argentine Central Bank with Thor's Hammer. pic.twitter.com/qw1MxSDpEG

— Crazy Ass Moments in LatAm Politics (@AssLatam) November 19, 2023

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.