Felipe buys his first Bitcoin

coinI HAVE ENTERED the new world of cryptocurrency, and I feel quite stylish for having done so. I bought a Bitcoin.

Well, actually, I have purchased 0.01398091 of a Bitcoin. That’s what 3,500 pesos will get you, or would get you yesterday. The value changes. That’s about 185 American dollars. Bitcoins are pricey.

It’s not your daddy’s Bitcoin anymore. While it was mainly known as the cash of crooks and other sleazy sorts not too many years back, it’s cleaned up its act. WordPress accepts it, as well as plenty of other legit businesses, and there are even Bitcoin ATMs in Mexico, four at least, Querétaro, Mérida, Mexico City and Monterrey.

What you’d do with a Bitcoin ATM I have no idea since Bitcoins have no physical existence.

There are numerous routes to becoming a Bitcoin owner. I opened an account with Bitso, which was Mexico’s first Bitcoin exchange. There are quite a few others.

To open an account with Bitso and buy Bitcoin, you must be a Mexican citizen. But if you’re unfortunate enough to not be a Mexican, there are other routes for you.

One of many new online marketplaces that accept Bitcoin, sometimes only Bitcoin, is Open Bazaar. I’ve become a cutting-edge sort of fellow. Though normally I don’t use the word “cool” except when talking about the weather, I think it now applies to me.

Long-term plan: become a Bitcoin tycoon.

Big, fat raise

new-imageCAN YOU HEAR the Gringos cheering?

When I moved south in the year 2000 the peso-buck exchange rate was about 10-1.

For every buck you’d get 10 pesos. This made it easy to calculate how much you were spending in “real money.”

It stayed that way for years, spiking up to 12 on occasion and even dipping a bit below 10 now and then. Some years later, it would rise to about 15 or so, but that usually didn’t last long, a week or so, and it would fall back to the 12 range.

A couple of years ago, it started going up and up, and nowadays, depending on the bank, you can get 20 pesos for a buck.

Here’s what that means for those of us whose income comes from above the Rio Bravo: a 100 percent pay raise. Well, for those who’ve been here since 2000, that is.

While this is not good for Mexico, it is very good for those who live on dollars that sail south electronically.

And it’s very good for Gringo tourists.* If you’ve been dreaming of a Mexican vacation, phone your travel agent.

Of course, prices have increased since 2000, but they sure have not risen 100 percent, so we’re far ahead of the game.

Some people attribute this situation to Trump’s rise, but it started before that. Being stupid in these matters, I don’t know why we got this big, fat pay raise, but I like it.

And it’s easy to calculate again how much I’m spending in “real money.” Just halve the 10-1 calculation and voilá!

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* But it’s bad for Mexican tourists in the United States, just one more reason for me to stay put. Both my bank accounts are Mexican. Pesos, not bucks. Pesos are “real money” now.