Cryptocurrency adoption has been one of the main news of the year. Different means have been introduced to accept bitcoin and make crypto payments around the world. We have seen nations create tokens that mirror their currencies and real-life usage of bitcoin for crypto payments. This is not including the race for the first bitcoin city; which El Salvador and its energetic president are currently leading. While there has been some bad crypto news this year ( referring to china and the crypto mining ban), having more options to crypto market relevance outside cryptocurrency exchange platforms is a joy to behold.
One piece of news on crypto adoption is that Elektra, one of Mexico’s biggest stores, is accepting payment in bitcoin on all its payment channels. While this has not been the first store to accept cryptocurrencies, it is the latest proof of massive crypto adoption in Latin America. It has been a long time coming as several reports have linked Elektra with the bitcoin lightning Network, but this move is an audacious move that would reflect on Bitcoin’s chart in a little while. Before we look into the details of Elektra’s crypto deal, let us see which company Elekta is
Elektra is not a new name in Latin America. Although its presence is strong in the region as a financial and retailing business, it has been a familiar figure in America. The Elektra group has been the largest provider of cash in the United States, excluding banks. There are over 6,000 arms of its service rendering, as both a retail company and a financial service group, and some of the countries it is popular in include: Mexico, Peru, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Its retail arm has been repeatedly tagged as the Amazon of Latin America, as its dominance in that region cannot be quantified. Just as Amazon has the lead in the United States, Alibaba has it in China, and Jumia has it in Nigeria, Elektra has been the happening retail store in Latin America. To show its dominance, let’s see a few stats.
One out of every four television sets sold in Mexico can be found on Elektra. For refrigerators, it is one out of every five, and for motorcycles, a whopping seven out of ten come from Elektra.
While its financial aspect is equally impressive, with it being the largest bank by land coverage, it has seen more success in giving out loans, both personal and corporate.
Elektra was built and established by Hugo Salinas Price, Mexico’s third-richest man, and the news of Elektra accepting bitcoin payment comes less than a month after Salinas put it up online that Elektra would be using the Bitcoin Lightning Network to allow its financial users to pay and receive payment in cryptocurrencies.
The News on Electra and crypto
Online retail stores and eCommerce websites have not been silent about cryptocurrencies. Amazon, Alibaba, and Walmart, the three most popular eCommerce websites, have been silent yet firm on crypto tokens. Due to government regulations, many of them have resorted to third-party companies processing their payments. This is particularly why Elektra’s decision to approve crypto payments directly is unbelievable yet exciting. Through its founder’s Twitter page, Elektra announced that the rumors are true, and Elektra will start accepting Bitcoin for purchases. In a twist of comedy, he apologized for beating the competition, talking about their pioneering status both as the retail giant with over $16 billion market cap and the company being the first Mexico store to accept crypto for payment.
Salinas has been a vocal personality for the growth of cryptocurrencies in Latin America as a staunch crypto bull. He is who you’d call an Hodler as he declared that 10% of his cash balance will always be invested in Bitcoin. As many other crypto bulls, he sees fiat as a falling means of exchange as it facilitates some of the biggest frauds in history. It would be interesting to see him hold true to his promise of keeping Bitcoin for the next 30 years.
He recalled the Mexican fiat (Peso) when he started his career 30 years ago. The peso-dollar exchange rate was 20:1. Now, 30 years later, the rate is over 20,000:1. Seeing how ‘devaluable’ every currency is, with the dying dollar, he believes investing in fiat is a deadly bomb. As we all know, Bitcoin is an asset everyone should have as a hedge against fiat currency.
This is not the first time Salinas is making plans for crypto adoption in one of his establishments. There were some plans, which were abruptly cut short by the Central bank, to allow his bank, the Banko Azteca, to accept Bitcoin. All plans went south as the central bank declared cryptocurrencies as an illegal tender. Though subject to change, the policy is still hinged towards cryptocurrencies being a prohibited legal tender for banks in Mexico.
The future of cryptocurrencies
Bitcoin transactions are switching from exchanges like Redot.com, Binance, Coinbase, and decentralized exchanges, to having Bitcoin ATMs and stores that accept payment in Bitcoin. There is still a long way to go as less than 10% of the world’s population is exposed to cryptocurrencies, and even that figure is skewed towards a few countries. With new features in the DeFi space offering better passive earnings than traditional banks and exchanges offering better and more secured features, having all cylinders firing at all sides will be instrumental if cryptocurrencies are going to be the norm like our fiat currencies.
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