Argentina's Currency Falls on Crypto Exchanges After Anti-Peso Candidate Wins Presidency -- WSJ

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By Angus Berwick

 

Argentina's peso sank against the U.S. dollar in unofficial crypto-related trading, after Javier Milei won the presidential election with a plan to ditch the already-battered national currency.

Based on trades between pesos and stablecoins, or digital tokens tied to the dollar, the peso has fallen up to 10% since Sunday, according to websites and analysts tracking the trade. It recently traded at about 990 peso to the dollar.

Regular markets in Argentina were closed Monday for a national holiday. The country has an active black market for currency trading, as well as an official exchange rate.

Stablecoins like tether have become popular among Argentinians seeking to protect their savings. Inflation has risen to 143% due to uncontrolled money-printing to cover public spending.

CryptoMarket's trading volumes in Argentina have jumped 30% in the past week, said Guillermo Escudero, a global manager with the Santiago, Chile-based exchange.

About half of that trading is in stablecoins, he said. "We've already become dollarized by default," said Escudero, who is based in Buenos Aires.

Milei, a libertarian political outsider, has said the peso is garbage, and told his compatriots it is crazy to save in pesos. Implementing his dollarization plan, however, could be rife with challenges .

 

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November 20, 2023 12:21 ET (17:21 GMT)

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