Bitcoin Faces Barriers To Growth In Baja California


Playas De Tijuana

Art on a boardwalk in Playas de Tijuana.

Baja California has become known for certain things in recent years and decades. For one, deportees. Including veterans of the United States army who were deported from the United States. Another thing Baja is known for is craft beer, with numerous beer fests taking place all over the stated. I wrote another piece recently about how US-based Uber drivers wanted nothing to do with traveling to Mexico, underscoring how many people in the US feel about Mexico. One thing Baja has not exactly been known for is its tech.

Baja California is the northernmost and westernmost of the 31 states in Mexico. The country became a state in 1953 and borders today the Pacific Ocean, Sonora, California, and Arizona. With a population of approximately 3 million, Baja California is much more populated than Baja California Sur to the south, with a density similar to that of San Diego County, which it borders at Tijuana. The populations are mainly based in Mexicali, Ensenada and Tijuana.

Read More: Uber Drivers Don’t Want To Die On Cross Border Trips Into Mexico

“The Bitcoin adoption in Baja California has been very slow,” Victor G. Muñoz, Consultant at Bitcoin Baja California, told me. “A lot of people don’t know what Bitcoin is. The ones that have heard something about Bitcoin have heard negative things in the press.” International and Mexican press has tainted the view some have of the new technology.

“The feedback I get from some businessmen here is very negative, because of the news,” Muñoz told me. “People don’t trust this new technology, for here in Baja California there is a history of scams of all types – on the internet, social media and by telemarketers. Therefore, it’s very difficult for them to trust Bitcoin or try to understand it.” According to Muñoz, time might be of the essence.

“It might take a couple of years before more people get involved with Bitcoin, that’s why I’m trying to educate everyone I know,” he said. He thinks adoptions might accelerate if Mexico sees a major economic crisis. In recent weeks, the strengthening US dollar has caused peso declines.

“All the people that I know that used Bitcoin are very happy with the technological advantages that Bitcoin has in daily life,” Muñoz added. In the border city of Tijuana, there is Bitcoin infrastructure.

Our faithful #bitcoin mascot on duty in #tijuana

A photo posted by Genesis Coin Inc. (@bitcoinatm) on Mar 28, 2014 at 6:05pm PDT

Alongside Muñoz’s efforts, Bitcoin42 operates a Genesis Bitcoin ATM in Tijuana. But prospects in Tijuana have not been ideal for CEO Alec Hahn. When I spoke with him about operating a Bitcoin ATM in Tijuana, he lamented the slow adoption in the region.

Technology projects perhaps struggle in Baja. The Silicon Border project, which garnered a lot of press a few years ago, has lay dormant for quite some time now. To be sure, the border politics of Baja and California could play a role in Bitcoin’s adoption over the coming years.

Featured image from Shutterstock.