Bitcoin nears all-time high in Argentina after Milei wins presidential election

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The price of bit­coin in Argenti­na is reap­proach­ing all-time highs after pro-bit­coin lib­er­tar­i­an Javier Milei’s vic­to­ry in the country’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion last night.

Bit­coin jumped 2% from around 13 mil­lion to 13.2 mil­lion Argen­tine pesos fol­low­ing the announce­ment before con­sol­i­dat­ing. It is cur­rent­ly trad­ing at 13.17 mil­lion Argen­tine pesos, accord­ing to CoinGecko data.

BTC/ARS price chart. Image: CoinGecko.

BTC/ARS price chart. Image: CoinGecko.

The price rise did not quite take bit­coin to new all-time highs in the coun­try — 13.37 mil­lion Argen­tine pesos. That fig­ure was set on Thurs­day, Nov. 16, coin­cid­ing with Milei becom­ing the strong­ly favored can­di­date on the decen­tral­ized pre­dic­tion plat­form Polymarket.

Argentina presidential election prediction market. Image: Polymarket.

Argenti­na pres­i­den­tial elec­tion pre­dic­tion mar­ket. Image: Poly­mar­ket.

It also did not rise as sig­nif­i­cant­ly as when Milei won the country’s sum­mer pri­maries on Aug. 13, soar­ing more than 20% to 10.2 mil­lion Argen­tine pesos with­in 24 hours.

Bit­coin is also up 1.5% over the last 24 hours in U.S. dol­lar terms, cur­rent­ly trad­ing at $37,215, accord­ing to The Block’s price data.

Milei on bitcoin

When asked about the poten­tial for bit­coin as a mon­e­tary alter­na­tive in an inter­view with the Argen­tine news­pa­per Clarín last year, “The first thing we have to under­stand is that the cen­tral bank is a scam. It is a mech­a­nism by which politi­cians cheat good peo­ple with an infla­tion­ary tax,” Milei said.

“What bit­coin is rep­re­sent­ing is the return of mon­ey to its orig­i­nal cre­ator — the pri­vate sec­tor,” he con­tin­ued. “Bit­coin has an algo­rithm that one day it will reach a cer­tain amount and there is no more and it can com­pete with oth­er cur­ren­cies, but the prob­lem is that gov­ern­ments will not give up the legal ten­der. Bit­coin is the nat­ur­al reac­tion against cen­tral bank scam­mers and to make the mon­ey pri­vate again.”

How­ev­er, despite some draw­ing par­al­lels with El Sal­vador Pres­i­dent Nay­ib Bukele, who over­saw his coun­try giv­ing bit­coin legal ten­der sta­tus in 2021, Milei does not seem to favor bit­coin as legal ten­der either. Instead, the pres­i­dent-elect cam­paigned on elim­i­nat­ing Argentina’s cen­tral bank and dol­lar­iz­ing a dev­as­tat­ed econ­o­my that has wit­nessed mul­ti­ple debt defaults and infla­tion soar­ing to near­ly 150%.

Milei’s victory

With 99% of votes count­ed, Milei won 55.7% of sup­port com­pared to 44.3% for Argentina’s cur­rent econ­o­my min­is­ter, Ser­gio Mas­sa, accord­ing to Bloomberg.

“Today is the begin­ning of the end of Argentina’s deca­dence,” Milei said in his vic­to­ry speech, local media report­ed. “We’ll start doing things that his­to­ry has shown works, and with­in 35 years, we’ll return to being a world power.”

Sev­er­al promi­nent bit­coin­ers con­grat­u­lat­ed Milei on X. “It’s time to try some­thing dif­fer­ent. Change is com­ing, and with it volatil­i­ty. Let’s see if he stays true to his word and abol­ish­es the cen­tral bank,” Bit­MEX co-founder Arthur Hayes said. “Bit­coin is hope for Argenti­na. Con­grat­u­la­tions Javier Milei,” MicroS­trat­e­gy founder Michael Say­lor added.

Jubi­lant scenes among Milei’s sup­port­ers fol­lowed his vic­to­ry announce­ment, with some appear­ing to rip up Argen­tine peso bills to use as con­fet­ti in their cel­e­bra­tions. How­ev­er, oth­ers warned that Milei’s pres­i­den­cy could lead to eco­nom­ic “dev­as­ta­tion” and “social chaos.”

Milei will assume office on Dec. 10.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This arti­cle is pro­vid­ed for infor­ma­tion­al pur­pos­es only. It is not offered or intend­ed to be used as legal, tax, invest­ment, finan­cial, or oth­er advice.

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