In what could potentially be another strong show of Latin American cryptocurrency adoption, billionaire businessman Ricardo Salinas Pliego, a staunch bitcoin bull heading up one of Mexico’s largest conglomerates, launched into a tweetstorm in support of the world’s largest cryptocurrency early Sunday morning and said he is working to make his Banco Azteca the nation’s first bank to accept bitcoin.
“My bank [and I] are working to be the first bank in Mexico to accept #Bitcoin,” Salinas tweeted out early Sunday in response to billionaire Michael Saylor, the CEO of MicroStrategy who’s led the company through its purchases of more than 100,000 bitcoins.
Though he hasn’t yet publicly responded to Salinas, Saylor was commenting on a video in which the Mexican tycoon called government-backed paper money, or fiat, a “fraud” and instead suggested every investor should own bitcoin.
Salinas, who is Mexico’s third-richest person, doubled-down on the sentiment early Sunday, calling bitcoin “the new gold” while touting its portability.
In the more than two dozen overnight tweets about bitcoin, the 65-year-old also railed against critics, telling one user, who was touting cryptocurrency dogecoin while criticizing the billionaire’s wealth: “You’ll stay poor. Good luck.”
Banco Azteca did not immediately respond to a Forbes request for comment.
$15.8 billion. That’s how much Salinas is worth, according to Forbes. He runs TV Azteca, Mexico’s number two 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.
In November, Salinas revealed on Twitter he had 10% of his liquid portfolio invested in bitcoin. At about $32,980, prices have skyrocketed nearly 81% since the disclosure, but they’re down nearly 50% from a mid-April high above $64,000.
Soaring institutional adoption helped lift cryptocurrencies to new price highs during the pandemic, and this month, El Salvador sparked a wave of renewed optimism in the space after becoming the world’s first country to make bitcoin legal tender. Other Latin American countries signaled they may follow suit, but cryptocurrency prices are still struggling amid an intensifying regulatory crackdown in China. Worth about $1.3 trillion Sunday, the cryptocurrency market is down nearly 50% from a high above $2.5 trillion in early May.