In the midst of Argentina’s presidential election, all eyes are on the second-place candidate, Javier Milei, who’s been making waves in the crypto community. In the initial round of general voting, Sergio Massa secured 37% of the votes, while Milei trailed with 30%.
This outcome paves the way for a runoff election on November 19.
Javier Milei has been bold with his promises, advocating for a significant overhaul of the government’s fiscal and monetary policies. His radical ideas include combatting inflation and challenging Argentina’s central bank.
The following tweet has been roughly translated from Spanish to English. The translation reads: ‘Neither dollarisation nor the elimination of the Central Bank are negotiable.’
Notably, Milei’s primary election victory in August demonstrated widespread dissatisfaction with the current Peronist government.
Milei is no stranger to controversy. He’s an outspoken, far-right candidate who’s firmly pro-Bitcoin and pro-crypto.
By the end of the first round, he had secured a tentative 29.9% of the votes, trailing behind the incumbent Peronist party’s finance minister, Sergio Massa, who had 36.6%. An overnight update saw Massa’s lead slightly increase to 37%.
In Argentina, electing a president isn’t a simple majority game. A candidate must garner more than 45% of the popular vote, or at least 40% with a lead of over 10% against their closest opponent.
Sergio Massa’s 37% and a marginal 7% lead over Milei failed to meet this threshold in the October general vote. Hence, both candidates are poised to continue campaigning until the decisive November 19 runoff.
Despite the numbers, Milei remains confident and views the runoff as a “historic achievement” for his relatively new party, La Libertad Avanza.
His party is up against the successors of Juan and Evita Perón, who have held power in Argentina’s government since the 1970s.
Milei is well-known for his support of cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin. While he speaks positively about Bitcoin, likening it to a return of money to the private sector, he doesn’t share the enthusiasm of El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele, who made Bitcoin legal tender.
Milei’s plan revolves around replacing the Argentinian Peso with the US dollar, a move that would elevate the influence of the Federal Reserve and the Bank of International Settlements.
Milei has previously endorsed Ethereum and associated with questionable digital asset platforms. Notably, he faced legal action from victims of the CoinX pyramid scheme for his involvement in its promotion. The Argentine authorities have taken action against CoinX for its failure to deliver on promised returns.
Even before Milei’s candidacy, many Argentines turned to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and stablecoins as a safeguard against rampant inflation.
Official inflation rates exceeded 138% over the past year, while the real, blue-dollar inflation rate, available to everyday consumers, soared even higher.
For many Argentines, cryptocurrencies serve as a means to exchange pesos for assets that they hope will retain their value longer than the Peronist fiat currency.
Javier Milei’s emergence as a pro-crypto presidential candidate underlines the economic challenges facing Argentina.
The nation’s rampant inflation and the desire for a stable alternative have driven many to explore cryptocurrencies as a hedge against economic volatility. Milei’s ambitious plan to replace the Argentinian Peso with the US dollar may be seen as a practical solution by some, but it is a contentious move that could have wide-reaching consequences.
While Milei’s chances of winning the presidency are slim, his candidacy shines a spotlight on the crypto’s growing influence and the urgent need for economic reform in Argentina.