Mexico's president rules out accepting crypto as legal tender

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President of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the country was unlikely to follow in El Salvador’s footsteps by adopting cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as legal tender alongside fiat.

In an Oct. 14 press conference, Obrador, also known as AMLO, said Mexico “must maintain orthodoxy” in its financial management and would not be changing its position on crypto. The Bank of Mexico and the National Banking and Securities Commission issued a statement in June warning that financial institutions were “not authorized to carry out and offer to the public operations with virtual assets,” but the president has not often spoken directly on the subject.

AMLO was responding to a reporter who asked if Mexico would consider following the example of El Salvador, where Bitcoin (BTC) has been accepted as legal tender since September. He added that though there were many innovations in finance, Mexico should also be mindful of issues surrounding tax evasion.

At least two lawmakers in Mexico have proposed the country adopt digital assets to “lead the shift to crypto and fintech.” Ricardo Salinas Pliego, a billionaire and one of the richest people in Mexico as well as the founder of Banco Azteca, has also said the major bank would be exploring accepting cryptocurrencies. Though the country has many individuals in the public and private sector who back the use of crypto, authorities in the country reported in 2020 that cartels had been increasingly laundering funds with digital assets.

Related: Bitcoin transactions ‘akin to bartering,’ Bank of Mexico governor says

Other countries across Latin America have seemingly been taking steps toward greater adoption of crypto, but there has been resistance in El Salvador following President Nayib Bukele’s announcement he would be moving forward with making Bitcoin legal tender. In September, residents burned a Chivo crypto kiosk in the nation’s capital city during a protest march against Bukele’s policies.

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