Mexico bans crypto at banks after billionaire promotes bitcoin

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Mexico’s central bank has warned the country’s banks that cryptocurrencies are off-limits — a day after bitcoin got a plug from one of the country’s most powerful billionaires.

“This country’s financial institutions are not authorized to conduct or offer to the public transactions with virtual assets like Bitcoin,” the Bank of Mexico said in a statement on Monday. 

“Whoever issues or offers such instruments will be held responsible for violating those rules and will be subject to the applicable sanctions,” the bank added.

The statement by Mexico’s central bank, which has autonomy from the country’s elected federal government, was widely seen as a rebuke of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s closest ally in the business world.

A day earlier, Ricardo Salinas Pliego — a billionaire businessman who runs banking, telecommunications and retail companies and is politically aligned with Obrador — endorsed bitcoin on social media.

“Bitcoin is a good way to diversify your investment portfolio and I think every investor should study cryptocurrencies and their future,” Salinas Pliego wrote.

Banco Azteca — a bank owned by Salinas Pliego that also has operations in distinctly pro-bitcoin El Salvador — was working on ways to allow members of the public to buy cryptocurrencies, the billionaire said.

“At Banco Azteca, we are working to bring them to our customers and continue promoting freedom,” he said.

A spokesperson for Salinas Pliego’s corporate conglomerate Grupo Salinas did not immediately respond o a request for comment on whether the central bank’s statement changes the company’s plans.

With Post Wires

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