The upper chamber of Mexico's national legislature has approved a financial technology bill that would bring local bitcoin exchanges under the oversight of the central bank.
According to Reuters, the bill cleared the Mexican Senate on Dec. 5, setting the stage for its consideration and potential passage in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the legislature. Citing sources familiar with the process, Reuters reported that the bill is expected to clear the Chamber of Deputies on Dec. 15.
As previously reported, the measure, as currently written, would clarify that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in Mexico. Further, exchanges and other companies that handle cryptocurrencies would be officially regulated by the Banco de Mexico, Mexico's central bank.
The goal of the change is to provide legal clarity for companies, including those working with bitcoin, that are creating new kinds of products and services.
Yet, as Reuters highlights, the finer details of the bill are still being ironed out, as so-called secondary laws are expected to further build on the measure.
Statements from officials at the Banco de Mexico offer insight into how the central bank might go about regulating cryptocurrencies. Earlier this year, Agustin Carstens, the institution's governor, was quoted by local media as saying that bitcoin should be considered more akin to a commodity than a currency.
In mid-2014, the Banco de Mexico moved to prohibit banks in the country from directly handling bitcoin.
Mexico City image via Shutterstock