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Singapore, restrictive crypto regulation

In Singapore, the New Omnibus Act that would change crypto regulation could soon become a reality. 

In fact, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has opened a public consultation to assess the contents of the law which aims to contain financial risks. The consultation will end on August 20th. The paper to be examined and against which to present rebuttals is a 99-page document that doesn’t actually ever mention bitcoin and cryptocurrencies but only talks about digital tokens. 

In any case, the aim of the MAS is to find the best solutions to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing

That is why the act is intended to act on four fronts: 

  1. Issuing “prohibition orders” (POs) against those who will engage in activities detrimental to the financial sector. Before issuing such an order, the MAS will assess the risks, nature and impact of the conduct deemed harmful.
  2. Those who offer services related to digital tokens must have a regular license that ensures compliance with AML/CFT requirements (acronym that stands for Anti Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism). This measure strengthens the laws already existing in Singapore which regulate the sale and activities of digital assets. 
  3. In order to prevent cybercrime, the MAS will propose requirements that demonstrate the existence of risk management and data protection systems to all financial institutions. Any infringement can be punished with fines of up to $1 million. 
  4. The MAS is also committed to providing legal protection to financial dispute mediators.

Singapore, crypto regulation begins with definitions

Interestingly, on the questions on which the MAS is open to confrontation, there is also the definition of digital token. The Singapore authority explicitly writes that it seeks comments on the proposal to define digital tokens as:

  • Digital payment tokens
  • Digital representations of a capital market product that can be transferred, stored or exchanged electronically.

In reality, there was no lack of crypto regulation in Singapore at all. In April, the Income Tax Treatment of Digital Token was issued, which provides tax guidance on digital tokens, as well as guidance on ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings).

The new act, if approved, will aim to give even clearer rules. But it must be said that often “clearer” means “more stringent”. 

Eleonora Spagnolo
Eleonora Spagnolo
Journalist passionate about the web and the digital world. She graduated with honours in Multimedia Publishing at the University La Sapienza in Rome and completed a master's degree in Web and Social Media Marketing.