Mexico City — Mexico’s central bank (Banxico) will open accounts for non-banked customers to allow them to use a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) that will have the same value as the Mexican peso, the bank’s deputy governor Jonathan Heath said in an interview with Bloomberg Línea.
The aim of creating a CBDC is that it be a currency. “It will be the Mexican peso, and which can be transacted digitally, as happens now with the inter-bank electronic payments system (SPEI) and digital charging, known as CoDi.
“The idea is to define and refine it, so that anyone, even if they do not have a bank account, can make a digital transaction, and that means that they will be able to open an account at the central bank itself, because the central bank would issue an account simply so that the transaction can be carried from one place to another.”Jonathan Heath, deputy governor, Banxico
Heath emphasized that a central bank’s digital currency is not a crypto asset, but rather a digital means of payment that is complementary to circulating cash and would be protected through blockchain.
He added that the program Banxico has in mind for the development of CBDC is in line with what most central banks are doing. “They are all doing their homework, and they are all excluding, almost all of them, Bitcoin. Bitcoin operates in El Salvador, but it is the exception, not the rule,” he said.
The deputy governor explained that in the case of El Salvador, the exception applies because the country has no central bank and uses the U.S. dollar as currency.
Banxico foresees the development of the CBDC in three stages, using the CoDi ecosystem in the first instance to allow transfers to be made, and which would indicate only the beneficiary data, such as a cell phone number, as well as the temporary maintenance of balances in favor of an unbanked user.
At a later stage, this may evolve to a tokenized payment order scheme, so that a transfer can be subsequently redeemed.
Finally, and based on the elements developed in the two previous stages, the bank would look at the development of methods to create digital currency registries in favor of users directly or indirectly in the central bank.
The governor of Banxico, Victoria Rodríguez Ceja, said on April 21 in an appearance before the Senate that the digital currency would take three years to operate definitively in Mexico.
A week later, on April 26, the Senate organized a forum on cryptocurrencies that had as a backdrop the installation of a Bitcoin ATM for educational purposes, on the initiative of Indira Kempis, a senator of the Movimiento Ciudadano party.
In the forum, the leader of ruling party MORENA in the Senate, Ricardo Monreal, said that the upper house would seek to regulate cryptocurrencies ahead of the introduction of Banxico’s digital currency.
Heath called on legislators not to rush the process and to study in depth the implications of regulating this type of asset, as proposed by senator Kempis and organizations such as Blockchain Land, led by José Rodríguez, who has worked in the last year in El Salvador to implement Bitcoin as legal tender.
Heath said that crypto assets have a very volatile value, rising and falling considerably, and that, if central banks start regulating them, they will lose much of their charm.
“The attractive thing so far is that it is precisely that it is not regulated, and that whoever wants to can buy it, but with the risk that this involves (...) Instead, we have to go by the rules of CBDCs, and we have to do this carefully and do it well, because otherwise it can blow up in our faces.”