South of the Border and Northward to Success: The Popularization of Bitcoin in Mexico
by Hayden Gill
In Mexico City, where history announces its presence by perpetual movement – by the enthusiasm of entrepreneurs and the enterprising spirit of world-famous executives – there is the unmistakable stamp of activity. Where 16th century churches stand alongside skyscrapers of geometric wonder, in this architectural mosaic of Spanish tile and ancient masonry, there is also the shimmer of aluminum cubes and the green-glass atrium of Mexico’s tallest building, 738 feet above the clouds and countless cars below.
In this national capital of federal and financial power, among 27 million people who hear the ringing of the church bells, in tribute to the Franciscan Friars and their holy order, to the ringing of the stock market bell – here, in the “City of Palaces” (La Ciudad de los Palacios), of the twin-legged towers of the Arcos Bosques office complex and the transparent walls of the “Phoenix Bird” fire station, history is alive with the power of Bitcoin.
Specifically, remittances to Mexico – from more than 12 million immigrants, many of them in the United States – are a prime opportunity for Bitcoin to flourish. The ultimate proof of this point is that, in this city of constant construction, where steel girders stand as icons of global influence and sovereign pride, there is another form of development: The creation of the first trading platform for digital currencies in Mexico and Latin America.
That exchange, MeXBT.com (a Seedcoin-incubated startup) is a resource for Mexican citizens who send approximately USD $23 billion back to their country each year. These individuals, 98% of whom are in the United States and 57% of whom live and work in either California or Texas, prove many things: That – even among itinerant laborers in the San Joaquin Valley, with its searing summers and dense tule fog, and between El Paso County and the Hueco Mountains, where men and women fill the manufacturing plants of clothiers and food processing facilities – even in this environment immigrants know the limits of fiat money.
They understand, with the receipt of each paycheck or envelope of cash, that every dollar is a note of ever-changing value by distant forces, powers well beyond the horizon of a cotton field in Central California or the basins of the Rio Grande River.
These immigrants, who risk life and limb to taste a mere droplet from the receding waters of the American Dream; these workers understand, regardless of their levels of education, that the Almighty Dollar with its Great Seal, All Seeing Eye, Latin phrases and cursive signatures from various Secretaries of the Treasury – millions of Mexican immigrants know that fiat money is an ever-depreciating asset, printed like so many pages in a multivolume saga about the decline and fall of paper money.
Converting Dólares into Bitcoin: The Rise of a New Exchange
The overriding theme to this story is that, despite the tendency to view things within the prism of our own parochial interests, in lieu of our own situation in the United States or independent of the grandees of economics and media, we are participants in a global phenomenon.
So, rather than bolster a false stereotype of Mexico’s economy – as if this republic of 121 million citizens, entrepreneurial by spirit and enterprising by design, is in some kind of stupor – I say: Look and listen to the people in a hurry; the university, law and business students, the shopkeepers and the expanding middle class – the faces of a dynamic nation, the forward movement of 170,000 doctors and 130,000 engineers, a country poised to become the fifth largest economy in the world.
Expect Mexico to thrive. Indeed, watch more liquidity enter the country, as well as Latin America. Observe the rapid spread of Bitcoin throughout this region – record the ascent of digital currencies across a multitude of Spanish-speaking states – where demand is already high for this form of payment.
Communities dedicated to popularizing Bitcoin continue to emerge, a spontaneous assemblage of merchants, vendors, investors, prospective traders, company founders and other interested parties. In meetings in Mexico City and Guadalajara, hosted by MeXBT.com, there is great interest to learn more about alternative currencies and the individuals at the forefront of this movement. That excitement symbolized the power of the green, white and red, for which we can all say: “Patria, Libertad, Trabajo y Cultura” (“Country, Liberty, Work and Culture”).
If these events are any indication, the land – in Mexico, for Bitcoin – is bright.