July 15, 2021 | 5:00 am
The warnings of the regulators about the use of cryptocurrencies did not prevent Fibra GDL from making the first transaction with bitcoin in Mexico for the sale of an apartment; even its managers are not afraid of the repercussions.
On June 30, Fibra GDL closed the sale of a property in which a bitcoin equivalent to 700,000 pesos was accepted, as a hitch. The department located in Ajijic, Jalisco, has a total value of more than 4.2 million pesos.
The operation comes at a time when the Bank of Mexico (Banxico), the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) and the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV) emphasize that cryptocurrencies are not considered legal tender under the current framework.
For Enrique Figueroa, CEO of Fibra GDL, the acceptance of bitcoin as an alternative payment method does not imply that they are violating the law, and he hopes that more companies in the real estate sector will replicate what his firm, originally from Guadalajara, did.
We are very happy to be in the magnifying glass of them (the regulators). It gives us a lot of peace of mind and gives us certainty that we are doing well, in the fact that this has to change.
commented in interview with THE CEO
Fiber GDL has a Exchange through which it accepts bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies such as dogecoin and ethereum in the transactions of its developments. It currently has establishments such as food chains, gyms and restaurants located in Jalisco, Baja California and Quintana Roo in which they already include bitcoin as an alternative form of payment.
“I see that a number of people want to adapt to this change because it’s a good thing actually. (But) that our portfolio is open for investment in bitcoin, does not mean that we have a project that is especially going to be sold at 100% in bitcoin, “said Figueroa.
It’s not the first time a project has set off regulators’ alarm bells in recent weeks. The Mexo platform began trading in June MMXN, the first stablecoin linked to the peso, while businessman Ricardo Salinas Pliego said that Banco Azteca is already working on the integration of bitcoin in its operations.
“If they’re getting a lot of attention, they’re going to investigate them. They are seeing a fiscal gap that they are taking advantage of,” said Antonio González, CEO of the platform. Fibraspy.
Since 2018, the Law to Regulate Financial Technology Institutions establishes that Banxico will determine the entities that can carry out operations such as the purchase, sale and storage of cryptocurrencies, something that has not happened so far.
How was the transaction made?
The transaction was made through the Bitso platform, in which George Goodman, founder of the fintech Xifra, made the deposit to the bank account of the company, which received the cryptocurrency through a Variable Capital Investment Promotion Corporation (Sapi), where it is exchanged for money and sent to the trust.
THE CEO requested details of the operation from Bitso, but as of the time of this publication the company did not respond.
The contract specifies that much of the value of the apartment will be covered in Mexican pesos. The customer will make 18 payments of more than 111,000 pesos and a final payment at counter-write of 1.5 million.
Figueroa explained that the amount of the hitch was frozen on the platform, but given the conditions of volatility of the price of bitcoin, the developer will accept the risks of a loss of its value at the time of the closing of the sale.
They are betting you to make money with bitcoin. I see it as a disadvantage, because what happens if tomorrow the price falls, if they have liabilities and debt would no longer have or book value, that is to say positive net worth
With the days numbered
Fiber GDL is an fPrivate real estate investment, however, these companies have their days numbered.
On December 31 of this year, private fibers will cease to exist, in accordance with the provisions of the reform of the Income Tax Law (ISR) carried out in 2019 by the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, which at the time argued lack of transparency when carrying out acts of control.
“There were several tax loopholes that made private fibers not pay impwestos almost never. If December 31, which is the deadline for private fibers to become real estate trusts, does not comply, they will surely have fines,” Gonzalez said.
As established in articles 187 and 188 of the ISR Law, one of the benefits that fibers have —public and private-— is that they are exempt from the payment of ISR, as long as they comply with a series of requirements such as distributing to their holders of fiduciary stock certificates 95% of their annual fiscal result.
Given this, Figueroa said that the integration of cryptocurrencies into his portfolio is a way to accelerate its arrival in the stock market. There are currently 17 fibers listed on the exchange and the most recent debut occurred in February of this year on the Institutional Stock Exchange (Biva), with the arrival of Fibra SOMA, from Grupo Sordo Madaleno.
In September, Agrofibra will be released as the first Finvestment in real estate focused on the agri-food sector, through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in Biva.