Cointelegraph spoke with Jose Rodriguez, the VP of payments at Bitso, a Mexican based Bitcoin exchange, payment processor and Ripple Gateway, on the country’s cryptocurrency prospects, and whether BBVA could be the most bitcoin-friendly bank.
BBVA’s Innovation Center is not only one of the first to publish a cryptocurrency tutorial on YouTube, but was also part of the investors in the US$75m funding round for Coinbase in addition to hosting an Open Talent challenge where 10 of the 50 finalists are Bitcoin and Blockchain based startups, which included Bitso.
Additionally, seven months ago BBVA Ventures’ Jay Rainemann said that they needed to better understand the industry and how merchants and consumers interact with bitcoin. This, along with the success of the First Latin American Forum on Virtual Currencies in the Financial and Regulatory Environment, the current trend is looking very bright for Bitcoin’s future.
Bitcoin is certainly not a new thing for BBVA, since as early as April 2013 the bank has released online material describing what bitcoins are, how they have evolved and what risks are associated. BBVA has also offered one of the conference rooms for the upcoming Mexican bitconf and have sponsored the second edition of the Digital Currency Summit in Madrid back on April 23.
CT: What do you think about BBVA’s Bitcoin Friendliness?
Jose Rodriguez: I love it, I’ve met them at events all over Mexico. They like it and they are really updated as to what we and their investments are doing. I’m surprised at how friendly, open and interested they’re in this technology. It goes lengths to show this the amount of Bitcoin companies that are among the finalists. They even offered us the BBVA center at some new offices they’re about to open, to host this December’s bitconf.
“I’m surprised at how friendly, open and interested [BBVA is] in this technology.”
CT: How long have you guys been around?
JR: With Bitcoin almost three years as a speaker and investing, two years organizing meetups; and 3 months in Bitso after the acquisition of Unisend Mexico. We had already collaborated earlier with meetups, conferences and keynote talks. Also I invited them when I talked with Banco de México last year.
CT: How do you see Mexico’s prospects regarding cryptocurrency?
JR: We still need more developments, we’re not even 10 Bitcoin companies in Mexico. We have worked a lot promoting it on media, universities and conferences to accelerate its adoption. We have seen some results.
CT: What about Bitso?
JR: With Bitcoin and Ripple, we’re a Ripple gateway and have developed B2B solutions for international payments. Right now, several remittance, service payment and cross-border payment companies are using Bitso as a bridge towards the Mexican Peso. This is where we see great potential and opportunities for growth.
CT: Do you think Mexico has an innate advantage for Bitcoin adoption? You don’t have Argentine level inflation to help you. What’s the immediate advantage for some bitcoins over there?
JR: No, here it would be more of a costs and efficiency thing. As a currency not so much, as a means or system yes. Except for last month where the peso has seen a great depreciation, it was stable so it wasn’t that much of a refuge.
CT: Can you imagine a future where each bank issues their own coins?
JR: Citi is trying to, and most of the bank's money is electronic, so it makes sense. Whether it is for listing financial products, to manage them or to have better internal control in banks such as Citi or BBVA that operate in several countries and have budgets they need to “dollarize.”