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Can Crypto Rescue Argentina? Meet The New Economy Secretary Tied to Bitcoin

Sergio Massa

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After a few months of an exchange rate turbulence in Argentina, the government headed by socialists Alberto Fernandez and Cristina Kirchner announced the arrival of a “super minister” who will be in charge of the economy, productive development, and agriculture. His name is Sergio Massa, who reportedly linked to Bitcoin.

Massa has an extensive political résumé in Argentina, where he served as a councilman, cabinet chief, mayor, federal congressman, and President of the Argentine Chamber of Deputies. It is worth clarifying that he also came third in the 2015 presidential elections.

He defines himself as a Peronist (an ideology that oscillates between left and right depending on the context) and is a key player in the current ruling coalition, Frente de Todos. After Cristina Kirchner chose Alberto Fernández as her candidate for president, they completed their power plot with Massa. After the 2019 elections, the three respectively took office as Vice-president, President, and President of the Congress.

Political crisis in Argentina and Sergio Massa serving as a fireman

Last July 3, a real earthquake was unleashed in Argentina, when, almost overnight, the resignation of Martín Guzmán, then Minister of Economy, was made official. This was seen as the very extinction of moderation within the government, and the Argentine peso lost much of its value against the dollar. The local currency went from being worth $200 to $350, which generated an interesting expectation of hyperinflation and, incidentally, a political crisis.

Different types of dollars coexist in Argentina because the local government limits the purchase of this currency by its citizens. Perhaps the most “consumed” by the people on the street is the so-called “blue”, which is the one that moves with the market and the one that is acquired in parallel in the black market. In fact, this was the one that made the aforementioned exchange rate jump.

Returning to Guzmán’s departure, the government’s response was to replace him with Silvina Batakis, whose anti-capitalist statements did not arouse much confidence in the markets. Faced with this, the executive took direct action and decided to offer Sergio Massa to head a union of three ministries: Economy, Productive Development and Agriculture. Since his arrival, the “blue” dollar fell to 280 pesos.

Will Sergio Massa be a bitcoin-friendly minister?

Since his appointment, the cryptocurrency community has brought up some of Massa’s not-so-old testimonies in this regard. For example, in 2018 the former mayor celebrated the following on his Instagram account: “Today I downloaded Xapo, a Bitcoin wallet. Cryptocurrencies and blockchain are a great opportunity for the economy of the future and for the new employees in the world to come.”

In addition, the founder of the Frente Renovador confessed to the Cripto247 media outlet that he was “interested in making Argentina a bitcoin-friendly country and was inviting companies to participate here.”

Also in 2018, Massa organized a talk on Bitcoin in which Matías Tombolini (an economist close to the current minister) and Carlos Maslatón, one of the most important cryptocurrency exponents in Argentina, participated.

In that conversation, held in a bright office with many bottles of water and some croissants, the latter commented that “Bitcoin is not the evolution of paper money, it is a new, different monetary system”, while stressing that “its issuance is limited and cannot be used to pay public spending or make bank bailouts”.

Massa’s role as Minister of Economy

According to Maslatón himself, Sergio Massa’s strategy at the head of the economic portfolio could be to apply an old form used in the 70s and 80s, consisting of a commercial and a financial market. The commercial market channels the main imports and exports, with a dollar set by the BCRA, while the financial market channels everything that does not go within the commercial market; with this measure, you have an official dollar and another “white” dollar among individuals.

Joaquín Núñez es licenciado en comunicación periodística por la Universidad Católica Argentina. Se especializa en el escenario internacional y en la política nacional norteamericana. Confeso hincha de Racing Club de Avellaneda. Contacto: [email protected] // Joaquín Núñez has a degree in journalistic communication from the Universidad Católica Argentina. He specializes in the international scene and national American politics. Confessed fan of Racing Club of Avellaneda. Contact: [email protected]

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