Mexican central bank, locally known as Banxico, has clarified on Monday that the financial institutions operating in the country are not allowed to offer cryptocurrency-based services.
The joint statement issued by the central bank, Finance Ministry, and the country’s banking regulator, came only a day after Mexican billionaire Ricardo Salinas Pliego said that his bank is working to accept Bitcoin and other virtual tokens.
Pliego, who has a net worth of around $15 billion, is the owner of Banco Azteca, which has operations not only in Mexico but in many Central American countries. He is also a long-time promoter of Bitcoin as, late last year, he said that 10 percent of his liquid assets are in Bitcoin. He even asked everyone to understand Bitcoin and the idea behind it.
“Virtual assets do not constitute legal tender in Mexico nor are they currencies under the current legal framework,” the top three financial authorities in Mexico stated.
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The statement further clarified that if any financial institution in the country violates the regulations and starts offering crypto-related services, it would be subject to sanctions.
Say No to Bitcoin
The Mexican central bank has a long-standing stance against cryptocurrencies. It first issued a warning against the risks associated with Bitcoin in 2014 and then reiterated it a couple of more times over the years, once in 2017 and then in 2019.
Though the central bank does not ban crypto, it wants a ‘healthy distance’ between virtual assets and the country’s financial system with the regulations in place.
Meanwhile, the governments of a few Latin and South American countries are taking a huge interest in Bitcoin. El Salvador became the first country to officially consider Bitcoin as a legal tender, and it will also hand out $30 in Bitcoin to every adult citizen.