The highest-ranking official at Banco de Mexico has stated he believes the central bank is unlikely to classify bitcoin as a currency.

According to local news source El Economista, the bank’s governor, Agustín Carstens, said that, since bitcoin is not backed by a government or central bank, the cryptocurrency doesn’t meet existing definitions of a currency. 

Rather, bitcoin should instead be considered more as a commodity, he went on, since “there is nothing to ensure its accounting in a financial system.”

Due to its potential for anonymity and use in cybercrime, Carstens also urged that bitcoin should be dealt with as an “issue of cybersecurity,” arguing that, although financial innovation should be encouraged, it should be done so in regards to the safety of users.

Making his comments during a lecture at Mexican technical university ITAM, the governor emphasized the role of the authorities in fintech, saying that “technological development in the financial system cannot be the result of innovation alone”, but must occur in tandem with regulation by the financial authorities.

The country’s authorities will soon propose legislation to regulate financial technologies, such as cryptocurrencies, he added.

Financial regulation in Mexico is the remit of the finance ministry, while the central bank is responsible for monetary policy and ensuring the operation of the financial system.

As reported by CoinDesk in 2014, the Bank of Mexico has previously clarified that digital currencies are not legal tender in the country, at the time restricting banks from using bitcoin.

Agustín Carstens image via Bank of Mexico/Flickr

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