Mexico’s central bank issued a statement Monday saying cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are not legal tender and cannot be used in the country’s financial system. The statement seems to have arrived following comments made by the Mexican banker yesterday that he wants his bank to be the first in Mexico to accept Bitcoin.
Mexico unlikely to change view on cryptocurrencies in the “near term”
Finance minister, Arturo Herrera, said at a press conference yesterday that under current rules cryptocurrencies are prohibited from being used in Mexico’s financial system, stressing that the ban is unlikely to change in the “near term”. Herrera is referring to a law passed in 2018, which states that cryptocurrencies would not be considered legal tender under any circumstances
He also commented on the possibility that banks will accept cryptocurrencies in the future, saying. “The country’s financial institutions are not authorized to carry out and offer to the public operations with virtual assets such as Bitcoin, Ether, XRP.”
The comments were made following El Salvador’s announcement that it will make Bitcoin legal tender, as well as the growing interest in the cryptocurrency by Central and South American politicians.
The statement shoots down Salinas’ plan to accept Bitcoin at his bank
The statement from the Bank of Mexico, finance ministry, and the banking regulators appears to be a response to Mexican billionaire Ricardo Salinas Pliego, who said his banking business, Banco Azteca, could begin accepting Bitcoin on Sunday.
Salinas’ comments came in response to a tweet from MicroStrategy CEO and Bitcoin bull Michael Saylor, who commented positively on a video of the Mexican businessman circulating on Twitter over the weekend. In the video, Salinas discusses why he believes “fiat is a fraud,” and why he wants to hold bitcoin for the next 30 years. He also explains that he believes Bitcoin is a better store of value than gold in the video.
According to Reuters, the Finance Minister comments were likely made to sabotage Salinas’ plan to accept Bitcoin, and analysts say it may even have been a strategic attack on Salinas because he is an ally of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s MORENA party. The tycoon had previously backed a MORENA bill that would have forced the Bank of Mexico to buy up foreign cash to help migrants and tourists repatriate to the US.