Singapore to Invest in the Future with ‘Strong Regulation’ of Crypto

Singapore. Source: iStock/tawatchaiprakobkit

In a sign of increasing competition among crypto-friendly jurisdictions, Singapore aims to lure crypto businesses from across the world and is determined to develop “strong regulation” to ensure regulatory clarity and enforce compliance, according to Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Instead of combating the spread of crypto companies, the Singaporean regulator prefers to put in place regulations allowing companies that meet the MAS’s requirements and address the identified risks to operate, he told Bloomberg.

“With crypto-based activities, it is basically an investment in a prospective future, the shape of which is not clear at this point,” the managing director was quoted as saying. 

According to him, not getting “into this game” might leave Singapore behind, but now they can have a head start, and better understand its potential benefits as well as its risks.

Menon said that, taking into consideration Singapore’s reputation as a global wealth hub, the island nation had to bolster its safeguards to combat the risks related to illicit financial flows.

The country is “interested in developing crypto technology, understanding blockchain, smart contracts and preparing ourselves for a Web 3.0 world,” according to the regulator’s head.

Singapore’s stance on crypto has allowed the country to attract major businesses such as crypto exchanges Binance and Gemini, many of which have had rows with regulators from across the world.

About 170 firms have applied to the MAS for a Singaporean license, bringing the total of companies that seek to operate under the country’s Payment Services Act to some 400 since January 2020. This said, since the law’s entry into force only three crypto-focused businesses have received such licenses. Two applicants were rejected, and some 30 companies withdrew their applications after holding talks with the MAS.

While the Singaporean regulator has assigned additional resources to assess the rising number of applications, the managing director said the regulator is in no rush to review them, and its priority is to ensure that companies meet their requirements.
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