Argentina’s Javier Milei Pro-Bitcoin Stance: Hero or Hype?

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Javier Milei, a pro-Bitcoin libertarian, has won big in Argentina’s primary elections, generating a whirlwind of debate nationwide. Milei champions Bitcoin as a solution to Argentina’s chronic economic woes, marked by unprecedented inflation rates.

With the national sentiment ripe for change, Milei’s unconventional stance may resonate with many. But is Milei’s pro-Bitcoin stance genuinely beneficial for the nation? Or is it a strategic play to secure votes from a tech-savvy and youthful electorate?

Milei’s Pro-Bitcoin Stance Is Deeply Rooted in Argentina’s Economic Woes

“Milei defines himself as a long-term anarcho-capitalist and a short-term minarchist,” said Tomás Santolin Godoy, Advisor at the Argentine Chamber of Deputies, in an exclusive interview with BeInCrypto. Godoy highlighted Milei’s ideological roots in the Austrian School of Economics, shaped by thinkers like Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek.

The 52-year-old politician, serving as a federal deputy of Buenos Aires and leader of the political coalition La Libertad Avanza, has an anti-central bank position that has gained popularity in a nation struggling with double-digit inflation.

“No matter how radical it may sound, whenever the central bank existed, there was inflation. When it didn’t exist, there was no inflation. Today, we have more than 10 different exchange rates for the US dollar against the Argentine peso. The central bank is considered one of the most significant factors in the Argentine ‘cancer,’ regarding all the businesses that exist around the dollar,” said Nikki Trader, a popular technical analyst in Argentina.

Central to Milei’s vision is his promotion of Bitcoin as a financial solution for Argentina’s deep-seated economic woes. “One must analyze his favorable stance towards Bitcoin as part of a broader context,” Godoy noted.

Therefore, suggesting Milei’s stance on Bitcoin is not a mere populist maneuver but rather a component of his libertarian philosophy.

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Global Inflation OutlookGlobal Inflation Outlook. Source: Statista

In a country where inflation has been a chronic issue and where a significant part of the population has turned to the US dollar for stability, the decentralization and autonomy of Bitcoin resonate with Milei’s broader libertarian ethos.

“The candidate himself has assured that ‘the beauty of these technologies lies in their decentralization and autonomy.’ Milei’s preference for cryptocurrencies is further enhanced by the specific characteristics of the current Argentine economy: chronic inflation and distrust towards the government, which reduces the value of the currency and drives people towards other sources of value not controlled by the State,” Godoy added.

Still, there are those who disagree. Many view Milei’s pro-Bitcoin stance as a strategic play to secure votes from a tech-savvy and youthful electorate.

“I think it is a populist strategy; most of Milei’s voters are young people between 19 and 35 years old who sympathize with cryptocurrencies. In reality, Argentina has a portion of the population that is not even banked. For Argentina, this represents a tax evasion opportunity. Totally populist,” added May Castillo, who advocates for Argentina’s working class.

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This demographic, frustrated by longstanding economic stagnation, clearly gravitates toward Milei’s audacious approach. More importantly, according to Godoy, Milei is one of the only candidates offering concrete ideas to solve the country’s problems, regardless of the “populist” label.

“This is something that the rest of the electoral offerings have not been able to provide clearly to the voters,” he added.

There Is a Need for Radical Solutions Against Traditional Political Maneuvers

The country has problems that extend beyond the exclusive realm of the financial sector. The increase in poverty, particularly among the younger population, the decline in educational indicators, and the advance of drug trafficking in precarious settlements have affected the country for decades.

This decomposition of the social fabric, in general, poses a problem of enormous magnitude. And given the severity of the situation, it seems coherent to Godoy that the proposed changes would also be of extreme dimensions.

“The severity of the problems can, in that sense, be the necessary incentive for society to be more willing to try new, radically different solutions, even if this means facing concrete costs in the short term,” Godoy stated.

Likewise, Nikki highlighted that Milei, described as a far-right candidate, has actively imposed his “anti-system fury” on the political debate. But his proposals “resonate with a society fed up with traditional politics.”

“Argentina is going through a moment of political fragmentation where the two main coalitions that have dominated politics in recent decades are seeing how the landscape is being redefined. This situation has opened the door to new figures and coalitions that propose different alternatives,” Nikki added.

Argentina's Presidential Candidates Considered the Most ExtremistArgentina’s Most Extremist Presidential Candidates. Source: Statista

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However, there are voices of concern about these radical measures. Martin Robaldo, a graduate of The National University of Cuyo in Mendoza, Argentina, pointed out the absence of a foundation in Milei’s political agenda.

“The drastic ideas Milei has make me very uncomfortable. I feel these statements target a large portion of the population disappointed by politics but lack any substantial foundation. Even his party colleagues point this out, and his advisors are evasive about how they will be carried out,” Robaldo stated.

Milei’s strong showing comes at a time when Argentina’s two dominant political coalitions are undergoing redefinition. This has created an opportunity for new figures to emerge.

Indeed, Sunday’s primaries have positioned three competitive candidates for the October election. Javier Milei and Patricia Bullrich sit on the right of the ideological spectrum, while Sergio Massa stands as a potential center-left progressive.

“This suggests that the arrangement of political forces resulting from the popular vote could align with Milei’s programmatic identity,” Godoy added.

Popular Perception Is Intact Despite Likely Institutional Obstacles

Milei’s prior promotion of the alleged Ponzi scheme, CoinX, is a red flag for some. Robaldo sees this association as a sign of Milei’s unreliability.

“Supporting a company that has been taken to court for fraud, precisely in an area he claims to be familiar with — the crypto sphere — generates even more distrust in me,” Robaldo stated.

On the other hand, Victor Zapata, a former journalist at CNN en Español, views Milei’s connection with CoinX as a forgivable mistake.

“I think Milei was wrong to recommend a Ponzi scheme. Milei admitted to charging money for that advertising. I think it was a mistake he made, but it is not a situation that has damaged his image,” Zapata said.

The public has not condemned Milei’s connection with CoinX, as many companies in the industry hold the “serious or unbreakable” label today but might easily encounter significant trouble tomorrow. As Nikki pointed out, “The industry’s lack of regulation makes everything unpredictable.”

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Although Milei’s populist appeal has not been affected by his promotion of CoinX, Godoy foresees serious institutional obstacles that could damage his popularity.

From a potentially hostile legislative branch to deeply entrenched special interests, such as powerful labor unions and industries dependent on state protection, Godoy sees the legislative and judicial branches as veto players that could resist Milei’s reforms.

As Godoy muses, “Is society prepared for such drastic changes? Could they provoke a scenario of social explosion or widespread chaos?”

These questions hang heavily over Milei’s candidacy. “His support base is mainly composed of people who face severe economic difficulties to make ends meet,” Godoy said. Milei’s image will be impacted if expectations are unmet.

“The hypothetical government of Milei is likely destined to be unstable by definition, at least in its early stages. The drastic reforms he proposes would likely be difficult to implement without generating a considerable level of turmoil in the country. Therefore, the key is to control this disorder to reduce it to the lowest possible level, both in its duration and in its social impact,” Godoy concluded.

Whether hero or hype, Javier Milei’s candidacy undeniably represents a dramatic departure from Argentina’s political norm. As his campaign progresses, the world watches closely to see whether this pro-Bitcoin candidate can turn his vision into reality.