The next installment in our LatAm’s Crypto Boom series takes us to Mexico.
Home to thirty-five UNESCO World Heritage Site listings, Mexico is a country rich in cultural history and diversity and shares international borders with the United States, Guatemala, and Belize.
While Mexico ranks among the top 15 economies globally in size, remittance fees are among the highest in the world, creating a bottleneck for growth and poverty reform in the country.
With regional adoption at an all-time high, cryptocurrency provides an opportunity to level the playing field and create a more financially inclusive Mexico.
Investing in education
Local academic and business leader Dr. Eloisa Cadenas is a firm believer that education offers a gateway to equality.
A lack of technical understanding in academia meant that in 2013, Dr. Cardenas struggled to find a university professor who would support her Ph.D. proposal that explored the financial impact of companies accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment.
Only after years of searching, in 2015, did Eloisa finally find a professor under whom she could complete her Ph.D.
“I was determined not to let the same thing happen to someone else so I developed one of Mexico’s first university modules on cryptocurrency at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México,” says Dr. Cadenas.
“More and more often, institutes and schools here in Mexico want to teach classes about cryptocurrency as they see the value that it brings to both businesses and individuals.”
Dr. Cadenas has since gone on to help further education institutions all over Mexico to develop classes and programs about cryptocurrency.
Fostering a sense of community
Most crypto education communities have sprung up outside of classrooms.
“Mexico city has always been a hub for crypto communities to network, collaborate, and educate,” explains crypto journalist and event organizer, Juan Galt.
“It’s almost its own society — the memes, the terminology. It comes as part of your life. It changes you and influences those around you. There is more brand recognition of crypto in Mexico than ever before. We’re at an all-time high in awareness right now,” adds Galt.
According to the 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index, Mexico is now within the top 50 countries in the world for regional crypto adoption.
Working with regulators to create a new opportunity
With rapidly increasing adoption comes a requirement for safeguarding, something that local entrepreneur José Rodríguez has been exploring since 2013.
Coming from a traditional finance background, Rodríguez later transitioned into crypto and now runs Bitcoin ATM company, ChainBytes.
“I started to meet with regulators back in 2014 and at the time, there were only some thousand cryptocurrency users in Mexico, not many at all,” Rodríguez said. “The Mexican Central Bank said that the market was too small to explore future opportunities.”
Fast forward almost a decade, and you’ll even find in-office Mexican senators like Indira Kempis recognized for her progressive outlook toward digital assets.
One of Rodríguez’s Bitcoin ATMs is even located by her office in the senate building in Mexico City.
Earlier this year at the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami, Kempis announced that Mexican officials had been researching ways to improve the use of Bitcoin in the country.
While no official plans to make Bitcoin legal tender have been published just yet, the possibility of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) is currently being explored by Mexico’s federal government.
With so much adoption on the horizon, Mexico’s crypto future looks bright.