Bitcoin fan Ricardo Salinas. Bitcoin fan Ricardo Salinas.

Billionaire owner of Banco Azteca wants it to be first bank to accept bitcoin

The support for Bitcoin follows El Salvador's decision to make it legal tender

Banco Azteca plans to become the first bank in Mexico to accept Bitcoin.

Owner Ricardo Salinas Pliego, Mexico’s third richest person, announced the plan in a series of tweets on Sunday in which he called Bitcoin “the new gold.”

Bitcoin is the world’s largest crypto currency. It was created anonymously in 2009 does not depend on any central institution.

Salinas stated investment opportunity and customer service were the main drivers. “Bitcoin is a good way to diversify your investment portfolio and I think that all investors should start studying cryptocurrencies and their future. At Banco Azteca we are working to bring them to our clients to continue promoting [financial] freedom,” he wrote.

In November, the billionaire revealed on Twitter he had 10% of his liquid portfolio invested in the crypto, which received a boost in recent weeks when El Salvador announced it would become the first country to make it legal tender. Lawmakers in a Brazil and Panama expressed an interest in following suit.

However, the crypto currency’s valuation has had a turbulent recent history. It fell to a five-month low on Tuesday, due to China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency mining and trading. On Monday it was trading at US $34,620 after reaching a high of $63,000 on April 13.

Salinas is worth US $15.8 billion according to Forbes. He runs TV Azteca, Mexico’s No. 2 television broadcaster, and Grupo Elektra, a retailer founded by Salinas’ grandfather in the 1950s that targets lower-middle class consumers, many of whom buy products using money borrowed from Banco Azteca.

With reports from Milenio and Forbes

Reader forum

The forum is available to logged-in subscribers only.