Javier Milei’s Potential Adoption of BTC as Legal Tender
The recent election of Javier Milei as Argentina’s president has ignited a heated discussion within the Bitcoin community about the possibility of BTC being recognized as legal tender. Samson Mow, the CEO of Jan3 and a significant figure in the adoption of Bitcoin by nation-states, has shared his valuable insights on this issue.
“The Argentine Central Bank (BCRA) signed a non-binding LOI with the IMF to discourage the use of ‘cryptocurrencies.’ BCRA has only mandated banks to stop dealing with crypto – there’s no legislation. Given that Milei will abolish the central bank, I don’t see why Bitcoin won’t be adopted as money by the Argentinian people or how that can be stopped.”
Assessing the Likelihood of a Milei Bill for Bitcoin as Legal Tender
Jan3, in a detailed thread, provided an analysis of Javier Milei’s stance on Bitcoin. Despite Milei not being a “Bitcoiner”, his economic principles appear to align with the core values of BTC. The thread raises an important question: “[H]ow feasible would it be for Argentina to adopt Bitcoin considering its massive IMF debt?”
Highlighting Argentina’s unique financial situation, Jan3 pointed out, “Argentina’s relationship with the IMF makes it an outlier, as the past decade has seen most sovereign debt be acquired by foreign investors. In fact, Argentina’s current debt status was worsened by the ‘Vulture Funds’ crisis.”
Despite these challenges, Milei has committed to fulfilling Argentina’s financial obligations. “Regardless of this, Milei has vowed that Argentina will not default on its IMF loans nor on any other outstanding sovereign debt. His plan to get the nation back on track will be far more strict than the IMF’s usual recipes,” Jan3 noted.
In May, Argentina’s BCRA enacted new anti-crypto policies, which Jan3 believes stemmed from a letter of intent with the IMF and Argentina’s Ministry of Economy. The Central Bank has banned Payment Service Providers from conducting transactions involving unauthorized digital assets on behalf of their customers.
Jan3 underscored that despite these policies, the IMF has not directly pressured Argentina to adopt them. “As seen with El Salvador, the IMF’s reach can only go so far,” Jan3 added.
Discussing potential paths to adoption, Mow’s company suggested, “JAN3 aims to outline many paths to Bitcoin adoption, which include the removal of capital gains taxes so BTC can get de facto legal treatment as currency. Milei is no fan of taxes or legal tender laws, instead, he advocates for private currencies.”
Notably, Diana Mondino, a member of Milei’s team, speaking at LaBitconf, confirmed this view, “There won’t be forced tender,” indicating a likely voluntary approach to BTC adoption under Milei’s government.
Understanding BTC’s Role in Argentina
It is crucial to recognize that Milei understands the value proposition of Bitcoin. Jan3 cited Milei’s previous statements: “Bitcoin is the answer to fiat money manipulated by central banks and governments. It’s a way to hedge against inflation and the deliberate devaluation of currencies.” However, they also added a statement by Milei that “any attempt at regulation will only limit its potential and hinder people’s financial freedom.”
On another interesting note, Max Keiser, a key figure for the BTC legal tender bill in El Salvador, extended an invitation to Milei for a discussion on adoption strategies, tweeting, “Mr President, Nayib Bukele. Do we have your Ok — for the Bitcoin team to fly to Argentina, representing El Salvador, and invite Javier Milei to dine at the Presidential Palace here in El Salvador and talk BITCOIN with you and the team.”
In conclusion, while it remains uncertain whether Milei will officially adopt Bitcoin as legal tender in Argentina, his presidency and libertarian principles suggest a more favorable environment in the country.
At press time, BTC traded at $37,428.
Featured image from Axios, chart from TradingView.com
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