By now, if you follow crypto media or crypto Twitter, you’ll have seen streams of headlines and posts crowing about the victory of Javier Milei in Argentina’s general elections yesterday. This is uncomfortable as it highlights how blinkered crypto enthusiasts can be to bigger issues, and reminds me of the old adage “be careful what you wish for.”
Noelle Acheson is the former head of research at CoinDesk and Genesis Trading, and host of the CoinDesk Markets Daily podcast. This article is excerpted from her Crypto Is Macro Now newsletter, which focuses on the overlap between the shifting crypto and macro landscapes. These opinions are hers, and nothing she writes should be taken as investment advice.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Javier Milei won, and if I were Argentinian, I would have voted for him (only reluctantly, with deep sadness, and because the “continuity” opponent Sergio Massa would have been even worse). Profound change is needed in Argentina, and I am eager to see the results of the radical economic experimentation Milei – an outspoken, libertarian economist – has been promising.
But three key things need to be kept in mind:
- Milei is not as “pro-freedom” as many assume.
- A lot of Argentines are going to have to endure significant economic hardship, even more than they currently do, as Milei slashes government spending through reducing benefits and subsidies. This is tragically necessary, and will hopefully bring growth on the other side. But let’s not gloat over what will be painful for millions.
- Bitcoin is unlikely to be part of his political platform, at least not for the next few years. He has plenty of other things on his plate to worry about, not least the upcoming currency chaos and the whopping debt with the IMF.
Below, I’ll dive into more detail on the above.
But first, a positive takeaway from the results: the victory was quite spectacular. Milei won the highest percentage of the vote (almost 56%) since Juan Peron’s landslide victory in 1973. Opponent Sergio Massa (the current government’s now-former economy minister) called to concede even before the official results had been released.
The very loud message sent is one of a fed-up population, and it has plenty of reason to be, with annual inflation of over 140%, more than two out of every…