Mexican retailer Grupo Elektra embraces bitcoin for payments

An Elektra corporate building is seen in Mexico City
FILE PHOTO: An Elektra corporate building is seen in Mexico City, Mexico, November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo

December 17, 2021

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s Grupo Elektra will accept bitcoin as payment for purchases, the latest retailer in Latin America to embrace the cryptocurrency as it grows in popularity.

Elektra, a supermarket and banking chain that belongs to conglomerate Grupo Salinas, is offering a 20% discount on purchases with bitcoin, according to an online ad shared on Twitter by Mexican billionaire Ricardo Salinas Pliego.

“The rumors are true. Elektra is the first (retail) store in Mexico that allows you to buy with bitcoin,” Salinas said in a tweet. “I’m very sorry to beat the competition again.”

Purchases will go through BitPay, a U.S.-based bitcoin payment service provider.

A spokesperson for Grupo Salinas had no immediate comment.

Salinas, one of Mexico’s richest people, is the owner of the Banco Azteca banking business, and in June said he was working to it the first bank in Mexico to accept bitcoin.

Bank of Mexico Governor Alejandro Diaz de Leon, like some other central bankers, has warned against bitcoin as a high-risk investment and poor store of value due to its volatility.

El Salvador made history this year as the first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, alongside the U.S. dollar. Low-cost airline Volaris, based in Mexico, followed suit, announcing it would accept bitcoin in El Salvador.

(Reporting by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Alexander Smith)