Brazil Crypto Report
Brazil Crypto Report
Episode #96: Can Argentina Be Fixed? with Michael J. Casey

Episode #96: Can Argentina Be Fixed? with Michael J. Casey

ex-WSJ and CoinDesk journalist discusses his experience covering Argentina's financial system in the 2000s and subsequent crypto adoption in the country

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Olá pessoal!

For today’s episode I’m joined by Michael J. Casey, who is a renowned journalist, author and authority on the topics of blockchain and cryptocurrency.

As a Wall Street Journal correspondent covering capital markets, he was one of the first mainstream media journalists to take an interest in bitcoin back in 2012-13.

Michael lived in Argentina for six years in the 2000s as a WSJ reporter, witnessing firsthand the hyperinflation, currency devaluations, and banking crises that have plagued the country over the years.

He more recently served as Chief Content Officer at CoinDesk (where he was my boss), and an advisor at the MIT Media Lab and Digital Currency Initiative. He’s also the co-author of three acclaimed books about cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption:

In this conversation, Michael shares how his experiences in Argentina primed him to immediately recognize bitcoin’s transformative potential.

We also discuss cryptocurrency adoption in the country over the years, and whether new president Javier Milei has the juice to successfully take on the Peronist machine.

He vividly recounts his attempt to transfer his life savings out of the country after selling his apartment - an ordeal that involved shady back-alley money changers, stacks of physical cash, and a complete lack of trust in the formal financial system.

These experiences led Michael appreciate bitcoin’s value proposition. As he puts it:

"A monetary system that gets its trust from math, not from a government. That's amazing...I saw the ability to move, transfer money back and forth without the intermediary, without that casa de cambio in the middle or a bank or whomever."

We also touch on the unique historical factors, including a legacy of colonial exploitation, that have contributed to Argentina's perpetual economic instability and lack of faith in government institutions. Michael draws insightful parallels between Argentina's woes and those faced by other developing nations burdened by unfair debt obligations and financial repression.

Key Takeaways:

  • Argentina's recurring currency crises stem from a deep-seated lack of trust in the government's ability to maintain sound monetary policy, leading citizens to hoard physical U.S. dollars.

  • Bitcoin presents a compelling alternative for countries plagued by dysfunctional financial systems, offering a monetary system based on mathematics rather than fallible governments.

  • Argentina has emerged as a hotbed for cryptocurrency entrepreneurship and adoption, with innovative startups like Bitpagos (now Ripio) finding creative ways to facilitate crypto payments and remittances.

  • Why the developing world is a crucial battleground for the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies, as citizens seek to break free from debt traps, capital controls, and financial repression imposed by governments and legacy financial institutions.

  • How Michael's experiences in Argentina were instrumental in his "red pill" moment, helping him realize the revolutionary potential of Bitcoin to solve endemic problems of trust, property rights, and monetary instability.

You can connect with Michael on X/Twitter and on Linkedin

I really enjoyed this conversation with Michael and I hope you do as well.

Have a great week everyone,


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