Specialists see difficult adoption of Libra cryptocurrency in Mexico
The regulatory issues and the lack of necessary technological conditions will be obstacles that in Mexico could face Libra, the Facebook cryptocurrency announced last week, specialists agreed.
Carlos Hernández, an analyst at The Competitive Intelligence Unit (CIU), pointed out that cryptocurrencies have been around the world for several years, however, the lack of certainty has caused niche elements to remain.
"In Mexico, there are people (who own cryptocurrencies) and they say how much you have Bitcoin, for example, but rather it has worked as a speculative market rather than as a newspaper market," he said in an interview with Notimex.
The specialist considered that it is necessary to wait to see what is the approach that the cryptocurrency of Facebook will have for the end user, to determine if it is a viable option and if it can have a growth in adoption.
"At the moment in the world no cryptocurrency has seen this type of use, the most common is bitcoin, but it has remained speculative, with which we can hardly see strong adoption in the coming years."
Undoubtedly, Facebook is the most used platform in Mexico, but when he turns to see the economic issue, the user becomes very sensitive for fear of losing.
Proof of this is that according to the National Survey on Availability and Use of Information Technologies in Homes (ENDUTIH), the activities that Internet users do the least are online banking operations and ordering or buying products.
The fact that cryptocurrencies do not have the backing of a financial entity such as the Bank of Mexico (Banxico), as well as an office to go to in case something happens, distances the user a lot.
"Not because it has the Facebook logo is going to be a boom as soon as we start to massively adopt the cryptocurrency; In everything that is economic issues, we have a bit of a barrier to start using them."
The specialist said that in addition to the uncertainty of not having the backing of a central bank, the lack of knowledge of the new digital platforms is also complicating its adoption in the country.
Cryptocurrencies are investment instruments, not means of payment
In turn, Baltazar Rodríguez, a specialist in Blockchain, agreed that in Mexico there are people who use cryptocurrencies, however, they are only investment instruments and they are not becoming a means of payment.
"They do it as a purely speculative exercise, like who is buying gold today and to resell tomorrow," he said in an interview with Notimex.
The legal position taken in Mexico for cryptocurrencies is quite negative since they almost prohibit Mexican companies from issuing cryptocurrencies. Because of the dominant size of Facebook, the announcement it made recently woke up regulators to start taking the issue of virtual currencies seriously.
"I do not think it will go well normatively speaking in Mexico because in Mexico there are already regulations against these cryptocurrencies. At the level of cryptocurrencies, I do see it a bit far, because there is a learning curve around it and most of the people are having trouble moving to the figure of a digital economy."
It is difficult for the Bank of Mexico to give in to the idea of a cryptocurrency that it does not control since its problem is not virtual currencies, but the fact of getting into trouble because they are not issuers.
"The problem of the Central Bank at the time of losing the issue of currencies is not about losing business, the dilemma is that they have a legal obligation to maintain control over inflation."
Although the launch of Libra generated a lot of noise, it is very difficult for this currency to become a means of payment until there is a larger agreement on how to handle it.
Recently, the director of Payment Systems of the Bank of Mexico, Miguel Ángel Díaz Díaz, said that he will analyze in depth the implementation of the cryptocurrency of Facebook.
"We have to analyze much more deeply what was announced (...) at the end of the day are new technologies and we have to be very careful of the implications this could have on the traditional financial system and take care, above all, that there is no a potential contagion of some risk".
Although electronic currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have become popular worldwide and in countries like Korea are already used for banking transactions, in Mexico nine out of 10 people do not know how cryptocurrencies work.
According to a Kaspersky Lab report, one-third of Mexicans (32 percent) have some knowledge about these electronic currencies.
However, only 13 percent know how to actually use them. In the unexplored Territory report: why consumers are still reluctant to adopt cryptocurrencies, the firm added that the majority of Mexicans (74 percent) have never bought cryptocurrencies, which highlights the long road that still needs to be traveled. that is accepted as a common form of payment or investment.
The cybersecurity firm warns that the rate of adoption of cryptocurrencies is going down, mainly due to the population's lack of knowledge about its operation.
The company's report points out that 12 percent of Mexicans who use these divisions abandoned their use considering that it was too technically complicated.
Added to this, the distrust that is generated in the use of new technologies also affects the popularity of electronic currencies. In Mexico, more than a third of Internet users (36 percent) believe that cryptocurrencies are quite volatile, so they decide not to use them.
In addition, there is a widespread perception among consumers that foreign currencies such as Bitcoin will not be present forever. In fact, 14 percent of Mexicans believe that cryptocurrencies are a fad that is not worth worrying about, according to the Kaspersky report.
For Vitaly Mzokov, Director of Marketing of Kaspersky, it is clear that the adoption and growth of cryptocurrencies are slowed by the nature of this technology.
"While there is a great interest in using it, it is difficult to invest the money earned with effort in something that you do not understand or in which you do not trust at all. Since the security of investments is of vital importance to consumers, it is important that measures are taken to safeguard them."
The report highlights that cryptocurrencies have quickly become one of the most interesting technologies of recent years.
Only Bitcoin, the most popular of these currencies, reached a market capitalization of almost 100 billion dollars last May and the previous week each Bitcoin came to sell at 11 thousand dollars.
Such is the growth of cryptocurrencies that a few days ago Facebook announced its own: the Libra, currency with which the largest social network in the world ventures into the virtual financial world.
"Cryptocurrencies have their benefits, but many consumers still do not know them, due to concerns about the safety and functioning of the technology, it is an exciting industry to participate in, but one that is based on trust," said Alexey Sidorowich, Head of Sales and Business Development of Merkeleon, one of the leading digital currency exchange firms.