ECONOMY

Bitcoin Price Climbs After Mexican Billionaire Urges People to Buy

Bitcoin’s price rose after billionaire Ricardo Salinas Pliego said his bank was working toward becoming the first Mexican lender to accept the cryptocurrency.

The price of bitcoin climbed to $34,140.94 Monday, up 6% from where it stood at 5 p.m. ET Friday, according to CoinDesk. The digital currency has lost almost half its value since it hit an all-time high of over $63,381.20 in mid-April.

Mr. Salinas Pliego tweeted over the weekend that he recommends the use of bitcoin. “Me and my bank are working to be the first bank in Mexico to accept #Bitcoin,” he added.

Some hours later, he tweeted again in Spanish to say the digital currency was a good way for investors to diversify their holdings. “I think that any investor should start learning about cryptocurrencies and their future. At @BancoAzteca we are working to bring them to our clients,” the post said.

Representatives for Banco Azteca SA didn’t immediately respond to a request for further details or comment.

Mr. Salinas Pliego, chairman of Banco Azteca’s parent company Grupo Salinas SA de CV, has a net worth of $15.8 billion, according to Forbes. He controls an empire of retail, banking, broadcasting and other businesses, and is close to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The second Twitter post was accompanied by a graphic showing the price of a cup of coffee rising over time. “The dollar has quietly robbed you of your purchasing power since 1913. Buy bitcoin!” the image said.

The prices of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have tumbled in recent months on the prospect of greater regulatory oversight of crypto trading in the U.S., China and Europe.

In the latest crackdown, the U.K.’s lead financial regulator over the weekend told consumers that Binance Holdings Ltd.’s U.K. entity wasn’t permitted to conduct operations related to regulated financial activities.

The notice from the Financial Conduct Authority has no direct impact on the services provided on Binance.com, a Binance spokesperson said by email.

China’s recent warning on cryptocurrency sent the market in a tailspin. WSJ’s Aaron Back explains why the recent shake-ups in the value of bitcoin, dogecoin, ether and other cryptocurrencies may point to obstacles in mainstream acceptance. Photo: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Write to Joe Wallace at [email protected]

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