Mexican billionaire Salinas says he wants to give his bank clients access to bitcoin, pushing crypto price up

Mexican billionaire Ricardo Salinas Pliego wants to make Banco Azteca the first lender in the country to do business in bitcoin.

Salinas, who is chairman of the bank's parent company, Grupo Salinas, tweeted on Sunday that he thinks bitcoin is a good portfolio diversifier for investors and that he's working with Banco Azteco "to be the first bank in Mexico to accept bitcoin."

The price of bitcoin climbed into the $34,000 range later Sunday, following a small crash late Friday that wiped out its gains for the week. Bitcoin last traded at 34,629.07, up 5.5% Monday.

Salinas' comments came in response to a tweet by MicroStrategy CEO and bitcoin bull Michael Saylor, who had commented positively on a video of the Mexican businessman circulated on Twitter over the weekend. In the video Salinas discusses why he thinks "fiat is a fraud," why he wants to hold bitcoin over the next 30 years and how witnessing hyperinflation in the 1980s informed his thesis.

Mexico's central bank is currently fighting inflation aggressively, having raised interest rates to 4.25% last week as inflation climbs above 6%.

Salinas is the third-richest person in Mexico, with a net worth of $15.8 billion, according to Forbes. In addition to the bank, his company also has ownership in a number of retail and broadcasting businesses.

His comments come a week after El Salvador announced it would make bitcoin legal tender later this year.

Bitcoiners often look to Latin American economies — particularly those of Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil — as examples of markets that could stand to benefit from bitcoin as an alternative to their state currencies due to their high rates of inflation and currency devaluation.

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