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Argentina Dollarization on Hold But What Role Can Bitcoin Play for Milei?

Last Updated February 9, 2024 3:19 PM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated February 9, 2024 3:19 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Despite aiming for full dollarization, President Milei admits it’s not feasible in 2024 due to economic stabilization.
  • Shutting down the Central Bank and scrapping the peso are on hold until at least 2025.
  • Milei envisions a system where different sectors use currencies suited to their needs, creating a dynamic basket.

Argentina’s libertarian president, Javier Milei, has dismissed  the idea of implementing his dollarization plan in 2024.

In a discussion with local media, Milei explained  that although achieving dollarization and the free convertibility of currency remains the ultimate objective of his government, the timeframe to stabilize the nation’s economy and roll out such a plan within this year is unfeasible.

Milei Delays Libertarian Reforms Including Central Bank Shutdown

Argentine President Javier Milei is pacing the implementation of his libertarian reforms, with the prominent pledge of shutting down the Central Bank of Argentina (BCRA) and phasing out its fiat currency being postponed until at least next year.

In a recent interview with local media, Milei indicated the challenges of timing, noting the extensive process required to restructure the financial system.

He elaborated: 

“There is no time. Think that if we maintained the current pace of sanitation of the BCRA, it would only be clean at the end of June. Adapting the financial system model can take up to a year.”

Despite these delays, Milei remains committed to the reform path, emphasizing that the Argentine economy’s relatively modest monetary base could facilitate the transition to dollarization and the discontinuation of the Argentine peso.

He cited  ongoing evaluations indicating that Argentina’s dollar reserves could potentially support the nation’s move towards dollarization, underscoring his administration’s dedication to these long-term economic strategies.

Envisioning Flexible Currency Basket for Post-Central Bank Argentina

Milei explained  that the transition away from the Central Bank of Argentina (BCRA) could be facilitated using dollars, but highlighted that the U.S. dollar might not be the definitive choice for Argentina’s future currency. He proposed a more flexible approach, suggesting that various sectors of the economy could adopt different currencies based on their unique needs.

He said :

“Dollarization is the final step of an entire process that begins with the sanitation of the BCRA, to then advance in the reform of the financial system and then in the end it is liquidated. That reform is to create an anti-run bank, and once that anti-run reform is done, you can move on to a free banking system. You can pay the BCRA in any currency, although the simplest thing is to do it in dollars.

However, this does not mean that individuals use the dollar as currency. For example, a tanker is likely to use WTI; someone from gas will use BTU; in the field, Chicago Soybeans. The result is a currency basket where the weights are freely determined by individuals, which neutralizes you from the effects of the monetary policy of a particular country.”

Crypto Champion or IMF Clash? Milei Ignores Fund, Eyes Bitcoin for Argentina

Milei mentioned  that the topic of dollarization has yet to be broached with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), despite the organization recently greenlighting a disbursement of $4.7 billion to Argentina as part of a renegotiated repayment schedule for the nation’s $44 billion debt.

Even in the absence of explicit policy changes, Argentina’s new leadership under Javier Milei could significantly influence the country’s approach to cryptocurrency usage.

Evaluating his economic strategies, Milei’s endorsement of Bitcoin as a super-sovereign currency suggests his presidency could mark a substantial advancement for cryptocurrency adoption within Argentina. This stance has the potential to initiate a paradigm shift at the geopolitical level, altering how developing nations view and engage with digital currencies.

Ultimately, the optimal remedy for Argentina’s economic challenges remains uncertain. Both dollarization and the adoption of cryptocurrencies have their advocates and critics. Time alone will reveal the effectiveness of Javier Milei’s strategies, as history will be the ultimate judge of his tenure’s success or failure.

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