Sophia's Blog

Sophia's Blog

Ricardo Salinas Pliego wants to bring Bitcoin to the banking

Regulators and businessmen in Mexico may have to go head-to-head in the fight to bring cryptocurrencies into the country.

Within a day of Mexico’s third-richest billionaire announcing his intention to introduce Bitcoin into the banking system, Mexico’s Finance Minister, the Central Bank of Mexico, and the Securities Commission issued a four-page joint statement to make it clear where they stand.

They reiterated that cryptocurrencies aren’t ‘legal’ tender and don’t fall under the country’s current legal framework — the general gist being at par with past notices issued in 2014, 2017 and 2019.

During the press conference, investors were warned that financial institutions in the country were “not authorized to carry out and offer to the public operations with virtual assets.” And, for good measure, the representatives also specifically mentioned tokens like Bitcoin, Ether and XRP.

A new Bitcoin advocate

Mexican billionaire, Ricardo Salinas Pliego, disclosed that he wants to accept Bitcoin through his bank — Banco Azteca — in a tweet to MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor.

In a video shared by Saylor, Pliego talks about how “Fiat is fraud,” and “Dollar as hard money is a joke.”

Mexico’s billionaire has a track record of getting things done

While regulators may oppose the move, Salinas does have a history of successfully navigating Mexico’s regulatory space. He is the founder and chairman of Groupo Salinas, which runs one of the largest banks in the country.

The bank, Banko Azteca, was the first to acquire a banking license in Mexico in over a decade. It claims to have over 16 million savings accounts right now.

Mexico’s politicians are crypto-friendly

Mexico is also known to be one of a small but growing number of countries that are supporting cryptocurrencies publicly.

“I will be promoting and proposing a legal framework for crypto coins in Mexico’s lower house,” tweeted Eduardo Murat Hinojosa, a representative of the Mexican federal government, on June 8. His tweet came shortly after fellow Latin American country, El Salvador announced its decision to legalize Bitcoin.

Mexico also houses the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Latin America — Bitso — which raised $250 million in a Series C investment round last month. The company had said it plans to use the investment to expand its operations and continue providing services to people in the region. Bitso was also amongst the nine crypto companies allowed to test uses for these digital assets and tokens under the Colombian government’s pilot program in January.

Countries like Mexico, Paraguay, and El Salvador have all shown favorable regulatory stands towards the cryptocurrency sector. With the ongoing crackdown in China, these countries may be poised to become the next haven for crypto exchanges, investors, and mining farms.

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