On Tuesday, Mexico’s Senate passed a bill designed to regulate the country’s emerging fintech sector, including regulatory provisions pertaining to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Mexico.
The Fintech Bill Is Expected to Pass a Final Lower House Vote by December 15 in Mexico
Mexico’s upper chamber of parliament has approved a bill that will provide a regulatory framework governing the organization and operations of fintech companies. The bill will seek to regulate companies offering alternative means of financing or investing, companies that issue or manage electronic funds or assets, in addition to providing guidelines for the operation of virtual currency exchanges.
If passed into law, the bill will bring virtual currency exchanges under the regulatory purview of Mexico’s central bank. The regulations will seek to impose strict identification requirements for both clients and investors in order to deter money laundering or terrorist financing activities, and will prohibit Financial Technology Institutions (FTIs) from guaranteeing returns on investments, or the success of an investment. Mexico defines ‘crowdfunding institutions’, ‘electronic payment institutions,’ and ‘virtual asset management institutions’ as FTIs.
The new laws will mandate that FTIs seeking to operate in Mexico must incorporate as a Mexican corporation or limited liability company. FTIs will also be required to demonstrate the transactions that it wishes to perform to the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV), that the company has a suitable corporate structure and governance bodies, and that the companies are in possession of all requisite resources and infrastructure. FTIs currently operating in Mexico will be required to receive authorization from the CNBV in order to continue operating.
Innovative Companies and Regulatory Sandboxes
Mexico is expected to adopt regulatory sandboxes in order to facilitate innovation in innovative industries that do not neatly fit within existing legislation. Companies seeking to operate under a regulatory sandbox will be required to obtain temporary authorization for two years maximum, during which the company will be permitted to provide their services to a small number of clients. It is anticipated that numerous companies seeking to operate using cryptocurrencies will likely apply to be regulated in said “sandbox” fashion.
The bill will also spark the creation of a ‘Fintech Council,’ which will be seen as a vehicle through which the public and private sector can exchange relevant ideas and interests relating to breakthrough financial technologies. The council will be staffed by individuals from both the public and private sector, and will be expected to follow emerging trends and practices in innovative fintech industries in order to inform the development of future regulations.
Speaking with Reuters, Felipe Vallejo of Mexican crypto trading platform, Bitso, has welcomed the Senate’s passing of the bill – describing such as having the potential to make Mexico internationally competitive within the emerging cryptocurrency industries. “For us, it was a victory for the sector, because this is being done internationally,” Mr. Vallejo said.
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