The governor of the Bank of Mexico believes bitcoin and other digital currencies should be classified as commodities, not currencies, echoing the conclusion of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which decreed in 2015 that cryptocurrencies would be treated like commodities.
The comments, made by Banxico Gov. Augustin Carstens during a lecture at Mexican technical university ITAM, were first reported by local business publication el Economista, and later by CoinDesk. In his remarks, Carstens explained that since bitcoin isn’t backed by a central bank, bitcoin doesn’t meet the widely accepted definition of a currency.
Rather, it should be treated as a commodity because "there is nothing to ensure its accounting in a financial system."
Carstens added that bitcoin should be treated as an "issue of cybersecurity," arguing that, although financial innovation should be encouraged, regulators also have an obligation to protect consumers from fraud and abuse.
He added that “technological development in the financial system cannot be the result of innovation alone,” but must also be guided by financial authorities.
Carstens revealed that Mexico, like Vietnam and a handful of other countries, is preparing to introduce legislation to regulate digital currencies.
According to CoinDesk, financial regulation in Mexico is the responsibility of the finance ministry, while the central bank is responsible for monetary policy and ensuring the operation of the financial system.
Mexican authorities back in 2014 restricted banks from dealing in digital currencies after declaring that bitcoin and its peers were not legal tender.