Mexican bank seeks to offer bitcoins, but Mexican authorities said no

Ricardo Salinas Pliego, the third richest man in Mexico, mentioned his intention to accept bitcoins in his bank, but the Mexican authorities threatened sanctions.

In Mexico, the popularity of cryptocurrencies is on the rise, as evidenced by the growth of the Bitso exchange platform. In this context, the third richest man in Mexico and owner of the Mexican bank Banco Azteca suggested that his bank could soon accept operations with bitcoin. However, the Mexican authorities stopped his intentions.

Salinas Pliego: Fiat is a fraud

The owner of the Mexican bank Azteca, Ricardo Salinas Pliego, recently announced his intention to accept bitcoins in the institution’s transactions, to become the first company in the financial sector to formally operate with this digital currency in its transactions in North America.

“Of course, I recommend using bitcoin, and my bank and I are working to be the first bank in Mexico to accept bitcoin,” said Pliego in response to a tweet from MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor.

In Saylor’s tweet, there was a video in which Pliego attacked the national fiat currencies, calling them “fraud” and “stinky.” As reported by the Business Insider website, the banker, who is the third richest man in Mexico, also claimed that “the strong dollar is a joke.”

After claiming to have studied the mechanism of cryptocurrencies, Pliego suggested that everyone should compose their financial investment portfolios with assets in bitcoin.

However, the businessman commented on his doubts about the potential of ethereum, another digital currency, since, for him, there would be no limits to the issuance of the latter cryptocurrency. “Although they don’t have a finite offer, I don’t believe in anything they do. As far as I know, they emit more and the asset depreciates,” Pliego said.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the Mexican businessman’s fortune is valued at $ 15.8 billion, whose assets include companies in the retail, banking, and transmission sectors.

In November of last year, Pliego revealed that 10% of his assets were invested in bitcoins. Since then, the cryptocurrency has accumulated a 95% appreciation, but 45% below the all-time high recorded in April this year. The devaluation of digital assets is aimed at China’s crackdown on digital currencies and the environmental impacts of their mining.

Mexican authorities issue warning against bitcoin

For the defenders of cryptocurrencies in Mexico, the celebration for the announcement of Salinas Pliego did not last long, as the Mexican authorities quickly respond to the comments of the tycoon.

In a joint document issued by the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP), the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV), and the Bank of Mexico (Banxico), cryptocurrencies do not constitute legal tender in Mexico, which is why which the banks that offer them may receive sanctions.

In the statement, the Mexican authorities indicated that “Financial institutions are not authorized to enter into or offer to the public operations with virtual assets, such as Bitcoin, Ether, XRP, among others, including deposits or any other form of custody, as well like the exchange or transmission ”.

So are bitcoins illegal in Mexico?

According to the Mexican authorities, cryptocurrencies cannot be used as legal tender in Mexico and the current legal framework does not consider them as currencies. However, this does not mean that obtaining bitcoins is illegal in Mexico. According to the statement.

“Although they can be exchanged, they do not fulfill the functions of money, since their acceptance as a means of payment is limited and they are not a good reserve or reference of value.”

Arturo Herrara Gutiérrez, current Secretary of the Treasury and who has been proposed to occupy the post of Governor of the Bank of Mexico, recalled that the position of the regulatory institutions in Mexico has been the same for a long time and no change is expected in these policies soon.

The position of the Mexican authorities seems to be bad news for startups like Bitso, which recently reached the category of unicorn. However, it is quite the opposite. Bitso will not have to worry about traditional banks becoming its competitors, according to analyst Jonathan Ruiz Torre.

Read also: Argentina Allowed Paying Bus Tickets with Bitcoin