Whenever bitcoin experiences a sharp drop or volatility, mainstream media analysts jump to declare that cryptocurrency isn’t stable enough to be considered money. The double-digit crash of the Argentine peso in one day, simply due to an election in the country, can be said to prove the same about fiat.
Vote Sends Peso Into Free Fall
On Monday Argentina’s peso currency dropped over 30% in value to a record low of 65 pesos per 1 U.S. dollar. The country’s central bank intervened in the foreign exchange market, using its reserves to prop up the peso, but it still ended the day around 15% down. At the same time, the Argentine equity markets were doing even worse, with the country’s benchmark S&P Merval Index losing almost half its value in dollar terms. This was the worst daily performance by any stock market in the world for the past three decades and only the second worst in the last 70 years.
In case you missed the news, don’t worry, no foreign power has declared war on Argentina, nor has Buenos Aires been hit by a giant meteor. Instead, the event that triggered such a major financial crisis, with people seeing so much of their life’s savings vanishing into thin air overnight, was just a routine election. On Sunday there was a primary vote that signaled that the current politician in charge of the government might be replaced by another one in a few months, which was enough to send the markets tumbling in historic proportions.
Eva Peron’s portrait on the Argentine 100 peso bill
Looking at the details of the elections that spooked the markets and led to the collapse of the Argentine peso shows that there is room for some concern.