28 Jan 2020
Singapore is introducing new payments legislation that offers global cryptocurrency firms a chance to expand their operations in the country by applying for operating licenses for the first time.
The Payment Services Act, which comes into force Tuesday, is the first comprehensive regulation for companies handling activities ranging from digital payments to trading of tokens such as Bitcoin and Ether. As well bringing crypto firms into the regulatory fold, the law will hand the Monetary Authority of Singapore formal supervisory powers for cyber security risks and controls on money laundering and terrorism financing.
The measure narrows the gap with Japan, currently a major Asian center for cryptocurrency trading after 22 exchanges received licenses there since 2017. Increased investor interest in digital tokens has encouraged several regulators around the world to bring the venues under their scrutiny, especially for money laundering and other illicit activities.
The key advantage of Singapore’s new legislation is providing regulatory clarity on new types of payments activities such as e-wallets and cryptocurrency exchanges, according to Nizam Ismail, the founder and chief executive officer of Ethikom Consultancy, which helps potential applicants with licensing and compliance issues
Tokyo-based crypto exchange operator Liquid Group Inc. and London-based Luno, which already operate in Singapore, are among the firms planning to apply for the licenses. “We welcome the Act with open arms,” said Liquid’s CEO Mike Kayamori. The firm will apply via its local Quoine Pte subsidiary.
By Chanyaporn Chanjaroen, Bloomberg, 27 January 2020
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