Singapore Crypto Regulations: All You Need to Know

In 2024, Singapore will continue to solidify its position as a hub for cryptocurrency activities, navigating the evolving landscape through robust regulatory frameworks. With its progressive yet balanced approach to cryptocurrency regulations in Singapore, the nation is emerging as a guiding voice in the emerging world of cryptocurrency.

While its progressive stance attracts businesses and investors, understanding the intricacies of its crypto regulations in Singapore can be challenging.

Singapore Crypto Regulations

As we delve into the nuances of Singapore’s crypto regulations, this article aims to provide a comprehensive guide, covering key aspects such as regulatory bodies, affected entities, and crucial compliance measures.

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Who Regulates Cryptocurrency in Singapore?

The world of crypto regulation in Singapore may seem complex at first glance, with multiple regulatory bodies involved. Cryptocurrency is not considered as legal tender in Singapore but the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is the regulatory authority for cryptocurrency in Singapore. However, understanding the unique roles of cryptocurrency regulations in Singapore can provide clarity and ensure your activities comply with the established framework.

1: The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)

As the primary regulator for crypto regulations in Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) assumes a central role in shaping and overseeing the crypto landscape.

Operating under the Singapore cryptocurrency regulations framework of the Payment Services Act (PSA) 2019, MAS holds authority over businesses engaged in “digital payment token (DPT)” services, encompassing activities such as operating exchanges, buying or selling DPTs, and providing wallets.

MAS issues three distinct license types for DPT service providers, categorizing them based on transaction volume and the nature of their activities. With a dual focus on fostering innovation and managing associated risks, MAS implements stringent Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorist Financing (CFT) regulations to ensure a secure and compliant crypto environment.

2: Securities and Futures Commission (SFC)

While not the primary body for crypto regulation in Singapore, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) plays a pivotal role in overseeing specific digital tokens categorized as “securities” under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA). The SFC’s regulatory focus extends to activities involving the offering or dealing in DPTs that exhibit characteristics akin to securities.

For instance, if a digital token displays properties resembling stocks or bonds, the SFC assumes oversight of its issuance and trading activities. By collaborating with other regulatory bodies, the SFC contributes to maintaining the integrity and legality of cryptocurrency-related activities falling within its Singapore crypto regulatory jurisdiction.

3: Singapore Police Force (SPF)

As an enforcement body, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) plays a critical role in investigating and prosecuting criminal activities related to cryptocurrencies. This includes offenses such as fraud, scams, and money laundering within the crypto space.

SPF collaborates closely with regulatory bodies like MAS and other relevant authorities to ensure the effective enforcement of laws and cryptocurrency regulations in Singapore.

By actively participating in joint efforts, SPF contributes to the overall security and integrity of the cryptocurrency ecosystem in Singapore by addressing illicit activities and maintaining public trust in the evolving financial landscape.

4: The Payment Services Act (PSA)

The Payment Services Act of Singapore, enacted in 2019, serves as the primary legal framework for regulating cryptocurrency-related activities within the country.

Essentially, it’s the rulebook that ensures a fair and safe environment for everyone exploring the exciting world of cryptocurrency regulations in Singapore. To achieve this, two regulatory frameworks are employed:

Designation Framework:

  • Identifies and regulates critical payment systems for financial stability and public confidence in Singapore crypto regulation. Payment systems can be classified into two kinds:
    • Systemically Important Payment Systems (SIPS): Payment systems are so crucial that their disruption could trigger widespread financial chaos.
    • System-Wide Important Payment Systems (SWIPS): Payment systems are essential for public trust in the financial system, but a disruption wouldn’t directly threaten its stability.
  • Can also designate systems impacting competition or efficiency in the financial system.

Licensing Framework:

  • Requires licenses for businesses offering seven key payment services:
    • Account Issuance
    • Domestic and Cross-Border Money Transfer
    • Merchant Acquisition
    • E-Money Issuance
    • Digital Payment Token (DPT)
  • Three types of licenses (Money-changing, SPI, and MPI) are issued based on risk and transaction volume:
    • Money-changing: limited services with a narrow scope; simple crypto regulations in Singapore for small businesses.
    • SPI: Offers flexibility for smaller businesses Provides most services but stays below specific transaction thresholds and faces moderate crypto regulations in Singapore.
    • MPI: handles large transactions, subject to stricter Singapore crypto regulation due to higher risks. MPI licenses are subject to more comprehensive regulation due to the increased scale of operations and associated risks.

Who is Affected?

Directly Affected:

  • DPT service providers: These  crypto Singapore regulations encompass businesses offering services related to “digital payment tokens” (DPTs), including:
    • Operating DPT exchanges
    • Buying or selling DPTs for fiat currency or other DPTs
    • Transferring DPTs (proposed, not yet in force)
    • Providing custodian wallets for DPTs (proposed, not yet in force)
    • Brokering DPT transactions (proposed, not yet in force)
  •  Individuals and businesses using DPTs: While individual investors generally don’t need licenses for personal trading, businesses using crypto as payment or exceeding specific transaction limits might face crypto regulations in Singapore.

Indirectly Affected:

  • Financial institutions: Banks and other financial institutions facilitating transactions involving DPTs might need to comply with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorist Financing (CFT) regulations.
  • Technology providers: Companies developing blockchain or crypto-related technologies might need to consider regulatory implications.
  • Investors and the public: Understanding crypto regulations in Singapore is crucial for informed investment decisions and navigating the crypto landscape safely.

What is the FATF Travel Rule for Crypto?

Important Singapore Crypto Regulations

Singapore recognized as a global financial hub, has established a robust regulatory framework to govern the ever-evolving landscape of cryptocurrencies. Singapore ranked 9th among the world’s most crypto-friendly countries. Let us delve into some of the most impactful crypto regulations in Singapore:

1: Payment Services Act (PSA)

The PSA is the cornerstone of crypto regulations in Singapore, specifically designed to govern the realm of digital payment tokens (DPTs). It mandates licenses for a spectrum of activities, including the operation of exchanges, buying and selling of DPTs, and providing wallets.

Notably, the PSA introduces a nuanced approach with two distinct license types: standard and major. The categorization is based on transaction volume, ensuring a tailored regulatory approach.

Additionally, the PSA provides exemptions for limited-purpose DPTs, encompassing non-monetary loyalty points and in-game items, recognizing the diversity within the crypto landscape.

2: Securities and Futures Act (SFA)

In tandem with the PSA, the Securities and Futures Act (SFA) assumes a crucial role in regulating specific digital payment tokens (DPTs) in Singapore.

It comes into play when DPTs exhibit features akin to capital market products such as securities or derivatives. The SFA mandates licenses for activities involving the dealing, offering, or underwriting of these DPTs.

This underscores Singapore’s commitment to aligning cryptocurrency regulations with established financial market principles, ensuring that entities involved in crypto activities with characteristics resembling conventional financial instruments adhere to the regulatory standards set forth by the SFA.

3: Commodity Trading Act

Expanding the Singapore crypto regulation umbrella, the Commodity Trading Act takes center stage when dealing with asset-backed DPTs in Singapore.

Specifically, it applies to trading activities involving DPTs backed by assets, treating them as spot commodities. Entities engaging in such trading activities are obligated to obtain licenses to carry out these operations.

This demonstrates Singapore’s proactive approach to regulating the diverse forms of cryptocurrencies, ensuring that even asset-backed tokens are subject to the appropriate regulatory scrutiny and oversight under the Commodity Trading Act.

KYC Hub Crypto Solution

Conclusion

Singapore has emerged as a leading player in the global crypto scene, attracting businesses and investors with its relatively progressive regulatory framework. However, navigating the nuances of these regulations can come with its own set of unique challenges. Thorough crypto regulations in Singapore, while aiming to foster innovation, create complexities for financial companies entering the space.

KYC Hub’s AI accurately identifies high-risk individuals and activities, aligning with Singapore’s focus on AML/CFT compliance. KYC Hub constantly updates its platform to comply with the latest regulatory changes in Singapore, like the proposed PSA amendments. Offload compliance and strengthen your operations to be as failsafe as the laws in Singapore.

By leveraging KYC Hub’s Crypto Compliance Solutions, Singaporean financial companies can navigate the complex crypto regulatory landscape efficiently, securely, and cost-effectively.

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