Argentina has a new president who describes himself as anarcho-capitalist and wants to radically reform the Argentine economy. What does this mean for Bitcoin in Argentina? I was in Buenos Aires at the time of the election and interviewed some people.
Hyperbitcoinizer: How did you react when you learnt that Milei had won the election?
Rodolfo Andragnes, founder of Bitcoin Argentina and the Latin American Bitcoin Conference: With great joy, because the Argentinians have decided to make a new start. The amount of money that Milei’s competitor Massa invested in advertising was colossal, I estimate about 100 times as much as what Milei had at its disposal. The main aim was to stir up fear of change. And yet the hope for change has won.
Manuel Ferrari, co-founder of Money-on-Chain:
With great hope for the future, although what lies ahead will not be easy. Argentina has enormous potential, but we are in a situation of extreme economic, social and political volatility.
Gastón Yapur, member of the Libertarian Party: With great pleasure, because I have actively supported Javier Milei for many years.
Florencia Aenlle, formerly of Espacio Bitcoin and a member of the Milei team: It was an epic presidential election! I was absolutely delighted that Milei won, and even by a huge margin of almost 12 percentage points. We have the world’s first libertarian president!
How do the Bitcoiners in Argentina view Milei? Are they more optimistic or more sceptical?
Florencia Aenlle: There are several supporters of Bitcoin in Milei’s party. I think there is a big overlap between libertarians and Bitcoiners.
Rodolfo Andragnes: Bitcoiners are generally sceptical about any promises, but of course we support the ideas of freedom and private property. I therefore think that most Bitcoiners in Argentina, despite their scepticism, have a lot of hope in Milei’s government.
Gastón Yapur: I can’t speak for everyone, but I personally have a very optimistic outlook for Bitcoin in Argentina.
Manuel Ferrari: Bitcoiners, and all Argentinians in general, are extremely suspicious of politicians. Many of us who voted for Milei naturally hope that he will get away with the ideas he proposed during the election campaign. But we know that he will have to deal with a strong opposition made up of socialists and communists. The opposition makes up a large part of parliament and has a network of companies that have been doing business with the Argentinian state for a long time.
What do you think a Milei government will change for the situation of Bitcoin in Argentina? And for the economic situation in general?
Rodolfo Andragnes: I think that with him there will be no central bank coin and that he will withdraw the restrictive regulations of the previous government.
Florencia Aenlle: Javier Milei is in favour of deregulation. This could attract new investors and companies that want to set up in the country. It is often claimed that Milei wants to introduce the US dollar as legal tender, but this is not true. He is in favour of free competition of currencies, in which people can decide for themselves which currency they use, whether peso, dollar or Bitcoin.
Gastón Yapur: A Javier Milei government will be positive for Bitcoin, as he is in favour of decentralisation and free competition. It will also be positive for the general economic situation, as he will eliminate much of the tax burden on companies.
Manuel Ferrari: Argentina already has a very vibrant Bitcoin community. With capital controls, restrictions on access to the dollar and extremely high inflation, many have discovered that Bitcoin is an excellent tool for protecting their financial freedom. There are many Bitcoin companies in Argentina, and Argentine developers are also involved in many international projects. If freedom and legal certainty prevail, as Milei suggests, it is quite possible that private and foreign investment in the country will increase significantly. Argentina was once one of the richest countries in the world, especially at the end of the 19th century, when liberal ideas were popular here.
What concrete steps do you expect President Milei to take with regard to Bitcoin?
Gastón Yapur: I expect deregulation for Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies. In a system of free currency competition, all currencies will be treated equally and the best money will prevail.
Manuel Ferrari: Milei says he will promote free competition between currencies. His presumed future finance minister Diana Mondino, who knows a lot about Bitcoin, has recently stated that she will abolish all legal tender laws. I don’t think Argentina will acquire large amounts of Bitcoin like El Salvador, at least not in the short term, because Argentina is technically bankrupt. The first thing is to reduce the budget deficit, which is a necessary step for the abolition of the Argentine peso.
Florencia Aenlle: Javier Milei is in favour of the free market, which is why I think the situation will be much more favourable for Bitcoin . But I also realise that there are more urgent measures due to the critical situation in the country at the moment.
Rodolfo Andragnes: I don’t expect Milei to make Bitcoin legal tender. I also don’t believe that the government will invest in Bitcoin. But I hope that it will adopt Bitcoin Argentina’s proposals for regulation, which put the freedom of companies and individuals at the centre.
Thank you for the insightful answers!