Though freshly elected Argentinian president Javier Milei only declared victory yesterday, he’s already done much with his recent time in the global spotlight.
On the campaign trail this year, Milei proposed legalizing the sale of human children via a “free market for babies.” He also pledged to lower Argentina’s age of consent, laid out plans to mandate forced labor in Argentine prisons, and repeatedly attempted to rehabilitate his country’s former pro-Nazi dictatorship. And he said much of this, reportedly, under telepathic advice from his dead dog, Conan.
So why are so many crypto leaders now cheering him on?
In the last day, numerous crypto heavyweights—including former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan and MicroStrategy co-founder Michael Saylor—have publicly congratulated Milei on his shocking victory, focusing on the controversial politician’s previous pro-Bitcoin statements.
To industry leaders who own or control billions of dollars worth of Bitcoin, Milei’s repeated commitments to destroy Argentina’s central bank—paired with the politician’s endorsement of Bitcoin as “the return of money to its original creator”—have spurred hope that the new president might institute Bitcoin-friendly policies, or even push Argentina to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender as El Salvador did in 2021.
Milei, though, did not propose any policies related to Bitcoin or crypto during his run for president, nor has he publicly mentioned crypto since winning office.
But, crucially, much of the politician’s campaign trail rhetoric (and costuming) championed “anarcho-capitalism,” an ideology calling for the abolition of state governments and institutions in favor of a political realm fully at the whim of private capital.
Such a worldview appears to have resonated with many leaders in crypto, an industry with deep connections to the libertarian movement—and caused these leaders to either overlook the rest of Milei’s stated views, or embrace them as a package.
Ryan Selkis, founder and CEO of crypto market intelligence firm Messari, congratulated Milei on his victory last night, posting a video in which Argentina’s new president pledged to eliminate numerous Argentine government departments—including the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Labor.
“AFUERA!” Selkis wrote, in reference to the Spanish term for “Out!” commonly invoked by Milei. “I can’t wait to watch another pragmatic young leader turn around another South American country. Let’s go Milei!”
Minutes later, Selkis reposted a video in which Milei ranted that the Argentine right was in a life-or-death, existential struggle against the left, one in which the aesthetics and morals of the right must triumph. Such invocations are not without context in Argentina; similar rhetoric was central to the wave of anti-communist mass killings that defined the fascist Argentine dictatorship of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
There are other signals that indicate Milei’s ascension may not bring about an anti-government libertarian utopia. The president-elect has pledged, for instance, to establish a nationwide camera surveillance network that utilizes facial recognition technology to track Argentine citizens.
Opposition to mass government surveillance long constituted a core pillar of crypto’s value for many advocates. Now, however, the prospect of incremental gains for the price and standing of Bitcoin may trump other industry priorities, at least for some Bitcoiners.
Edited by Andrew Hayward