It seems that the Mexican government has no interest in becoming the next Bitcoin Nation, nor does it want its private banks to walk down that road.
Mexico Says No To Crypto
The Secretary of Finance and Public Credit of the Government of Mexico, Arturo Herrera Gutierrez, shared on his Twitter account an official statement from the country’s Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance, and the National Banking and Securities Commission —Mexico’s equivalent to the SEC in the United States—, saying that virtual assets are not considered money according to current law and that banks are not allowed to operate with cryptocurrencies in any way whatsoever.
“Financial Institutions in the country are not authorized to perform or offer to the public operations with virtual assets such as Bitcoin, Ehter (sic), XRP and others in order to maintain a healthy distance between these and the financial system.”
The statement warns that those who attempt to offer any product related to cryptocurrencies will be subject to legal sanctions according to the Penal Code and other norms.
Regulators added that operations with stablecoins are also prohibited even though such assets do not have the volatility typical of traditional cryptocurrencies.
The announcement puts an almost definite brake on the intentions of several crypto endeavors. However, it seems to respond to the reports that Banco Azteca —the tenth-largest bank in the country according to BNAmericas— was is working on a new service related to cryptocurrencies.
Ricardo Salinas, the CEO of Banco Azteca, is the third wealthiest man in Mexico and is a long-time bitcoiner. He has made several statements about cryptocurrency adoption and its use case as a store of value and claimed to have about 10% of his liquid investment portfolio in Bitcoin.
The Tweet That Could Have Started It All
In reply to a tweet posted by MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor, Ricardo Salinas assured that Bitcoin was far better than gold and later revealed that Banco Azteca was working on offering solutions that would allow its clients to trade cryptocurrencies.
#Bitcoin es una buena forma de diversificar tu portafolio de inversión y creo que cualquier inversionista debería ponerse a estudiar sobre las cryptomonedas y su futuro.
En @BancoAzteca estamos trabajando para traerlas a nuestros clientes y seguir promoviendo la libertad ?? pic.twitter.com/bZ51FB2vKw
— Ricardo Salinas Pliego (@RicardoBSalinas) June 27, 2021
The tweet can be translated as follows: “Bitcoin is a good way to diversify your investment portfolio and I think any investor should start studying about cryptocurrencies and their future. We are working to bring [crypto] to our clients and continue to promote freedom.”
The news got more than 2700 likes and spread like wildfire among cryptocurrency enthusiasts in the country. However, it seems that it was enough that the rumor reached the authorities’ ears for them to issue a warning that practically kills Salinas’ dreams.
But the bitcoin-loving billionaire is not giving up so soon. In response to a BTC Times publication claiming that the Central Bank “shut down” his plans to accept Bitcoin, Salinas responded with a cheeky and challenging “We will see.“
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