Singapore Moves Close To Regulating Crypto Exchanges

Singapore Moves Close To Regulating Crypto Exchanges

Singapore is about to record a huge achievement in Crypto regulation after the Payment Services Bill was taken to parliament. Mr. Ong Ye Kung tabled the new Bill in parliament on behalf of the Minister-in-charge of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam. Among other things, the bill proposes to give MAS the powers to regulate various types of payments in the country, Cryptocurrency included.

Cryptocurrency Exchanges To Fall Under MAS Under The Proposed Bill

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Cryptocurrency exchanges in Singapore will soon be regulated like the other payments services if the parliament approves a new Payment System Bill. Mr. Ong Ye Kung has already forwarded the bill to the parliament for first reading on behalf of Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam. The latter is the country’s Deputy Prime Minister and the minister-in-charge of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Under the new bill, MAS will be given the role of regulating the seven types of payments already available in the country including Cryptocurrency exchanges. The bill is expected to a larger extent affect technology and cybersecurity risks, limitations of operability and loss of consumer funds through insolvency. The new bill will also touch on money-laundering and terrorism financing (“ML/TF”).

The New Bill Proposes New Roles For MAS

MAS will have new roles if the parliament approves the proposed bill. The agency will now be given the responsibility of designating important payment services. It will also be given the role of regulating operators.

To regulate the payment system services in Singapore, the new bill proposes to bring the various services under MAS. These payment services include money-changing, digital payment token, merchant acquisition, cross-border money transfer, domestic money transfer, and account issuance services.

The “digital payment token service” is a special section on the bill that is dedicated to virtual currencies and digital tokens. It is expected that Crypto firms will be referring to this section when providing payment services in the country. This section, according to the proposed bill is designed for those purchasing and selling Cryptocurrencies or those offering a platform that lets the people exchange the Cryptocurrencies in the country.

Getting Licenses Under The New Bill

Under the proposed Payment Services Bill, there will be three classes of licenses for those operating in the sector. However, any service provider will only hold one license at any point in time. Businesses will have the opportunity to apply to be a major payment institution, standard payment institution, or money-changing licensee. The bill gives MAS the role of checking ML/TF risks.

The Bill will also require businesses to meet certain conditions before being licensed. Apart from those applying for a money-changing license, the other two applicants must have at least one Singaporean executive director. Such applicants must also have a registered office in the country and must be a company.

The proposed bill will also see the service providers offer more security to their consumers and merchants. To ensure that consumers and investors don’t lose their money in case of insolvency, the law recommends that major payment institutions should either deposit funds in a trust account, get a guarantee by any Singapore-based bank, or the company be liable in case of any losses. The Bill gives MAS the powers to investigate and inspect these companies.

November 20, 2018

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Samantha Mitchell

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