Mexico’s apex bank counters billionaire banker’s attempt to start accepting Bitcoin

Mexico’s central bank popularly called Banxico has issued a statement that appears to be a counter to billionaire Ricardo Salinas Pliego recent comment that he is making plans for his banks to accept bitcoin.

In a joint statement, Mexico’s Central Bank, Finance Ministry, and the country’s banking regulator clarified that

“Virtual assets do not constitute legal tender in Mexico nor are they currencies under the current legal framework,” warning that any financial institution in the country found contravening its financial regulations to start offering crypto-related services would face severe sanctions.

Mexico’s Central bank remains stiff to allowing inroads for cryptocurrency and its related activities within its economy. Back in 2014, after Bitcoin had taken centre stage within a few years of its establishment, the apex bank warned against the risks associated with bitcoin and its investments. It doubled down during the 2017 bull run. Two years later, Mexico’s central bank had not softened its stance as it kept warning about virtual assets and cryptocurrencies with respect to the risks they pose to economies. With its recent swift counter against Banco Azteca’s owner, it is not surprising that the apex bank and two other regulators are taking this route.

Latin American countries are reacting positively to El Salvador’s recent move of making Bitcoin a legal tender. The small central American island also went ahead to issue a policy of airdropping $30 to every adult citizen that adopts its Bitcoin wallet. It is estimated that about 6 million people will benefit from this enactment. After Nayib Bukele’s landmark move, Paraguay is looking like it would be the next in line within the region. Lawmaker Carlos Rejala recently announced on Twitter that he will be leading a bid to implement legislation to make Paraguay the second country to toe El Salvador’s step. Information also has it that Argentina which is experiencing crippling economic decline may also be considering adopting Bitcoin as a legal tender for its economy as the Peso continues its downward spiral.

While Banxico has not stated it is outrightly banning crypto-related activities, it asserts that it wants a ‘healthy distance’ between virtual assets and the country’s financial system with the regulations in place.

Banco Azteca’s Ricardo Salinas Pliego has been an active proponent of cryptocurrencies, most especially Bitcoin. Last year, the billionaire with more than $15 billion net worth disclosed he had invested 10 percent of his liquid assets in Bitcoin. He even urged everyone to make efforts at understanding Bitcoin and the underlying reasons why the largest and most successful cryptocurrency to date was created. The billionaire terms fiat as “Fraud” in an interview with Bloqport saying:

“No paper bills … no stinky fiat. I would take Bitcoin.”

While Mexico’s regulators have voiced their strict stance on cryptocurrencies, Mexican citizens and residents continue to consume crypto-related products and services. According to a review by Source Forge, Mexicans have access to platforms like Celsius, CEX.IO, Bitso, Coinbase, PointPay among others.

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