Mexico is now officially part of Bitcoin with the opening of ‘Fundación Satoshi Nakamoto,’ an official affiliate of the Bitcoin Foundation.
Its new president, Spanish entrepreneur Raúl Nogales, sees Bitcoin not only as an exciting development but an essential part of Mexico’s financial future.
“The use of Bitcoin in México and worldwide is at an upward trend. The need for education, standardization, protection and promotion has become essential. We are really excited to establish Bitcoin Foundation México and eager to start working,” he said in a press release issued yesterday.
It is no secret that the impetus for this wave of Bitcoin activity is Mexico’s reliance on remittance money sent home from abroad, notably from the US from which over US$41 billion was sent back in 2012, over 75% of the total to enter Mexico.
As a North American country with a stable currency, the average family is still blighted by the fees charged by money transmission services on funds sent home from elsewhere. According to Jon Matonis, Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation, these “often include a base fee of US $5-10 and an additional percentage charge from 3-13%, per remit,” in other words up to $1,680 on a $10,000 yearly salary.
It’s a situation that needs to change, as echoed by Gabriel Miron, CEO and developer of Mexico’s first Bitcoin exchange, MEXBT, which will launch shortly.
“We saw that there was a huge opportunity in Latin America, especially in Mexico,” Miron said in an interview with Success Council earlier this month, “There’s money, there’s growth, so it could be a really interesting market for Bitcoin.”
He continued, “Remittance is a huge market. For example, 38% of the remittance market for the whole of Latin America flows through Mexico – $23 billion annually.”
Mexicans themselves furthermore have been very receptive to Bitcoin compared with the US and others. Friendly legislation has resulted in the lay consumer client base growing rapidly to embrace its new possibilities. As the Bitcoin Foundation notes, “While governments around the world are trying to understand Bitcoin, Mexicans are using Bitcoin to purchase everyday necessities like food, clothing, and even healthcare.”
Likewise it is no surprise that Miron is highlighting the trading platform function of MEXBT and has a ‘cash network’ of 130,000 locations including WalMart and 7-Eleven where consumers can purchase Bitcoin, something which is still a pipe dream across the border.
The possibility of significantly reducing money transfer costs will appeal not only to Mexicans but to the rest of the continent, but it is Mexico’s comparatively buoyant economy which will ensure the need for continued remittances in future, as it forges closer ties with the economic superpower next door.
In the meantime, however, Fundación Satoshi Nakamoto will open up the possibility for anyone in Mexico to transact internationally and profit from the advantages of crypto-currency like never before.
“The most compelling social and economic benefit of Bitcoin is banking for the billions of unbanked people around the world,” the Bitcoin Foundation said in support of the project, “That includes providing more affordable and more efficient means of transacting internationally.”
You can find out more about the Fundación Satoshi Nakamoto here.