Singapore Monetary Authority plans to regulate payments with cryptocurrencies

The leader of Singapore’s top financial authority, MAS, said the institution is working on a regulatory scrutiny to frame payments in Bitcoin. The information came to light because in response to a question from one of the deputies, the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore – also Minister for Economic and Social Policy – Tharman Shanmugaratnam, commented that while MAS has been on the lookout for cryptocurrencies as Bitcoin and Ethereum, at the end of the day there is no intention to regulate them completely. However, the official clarified that some activities will be subject to a legal framework.

It seems that, right now, the MAS is investing its efforts in the implementation of a new legal project to regulate the services of payment with cryptocurrencies, with the aim that they are not used for the money laundering and the financing of the terrorism. Shanmugaratnam clarifies in his testimony that, although a regulatory framework for ICOs has not been outlined, if it is considered necessary, the agency will do so without a second thought. In the words of the Deputy Prime Minister:

Digital coins can go beyond being just a means of payment and become second generation tokens that represent benefits such as ownership in assets, certificates of shares or financial activities that are under the regulatory framework of MAS.

Likewise, Shanmugaratnam mentioned what happens in foreign territories. For example, he noted that while trading with cryptocurrencies is very popular in the United States, Japan, and Hong Kong, the volume of operations in Singapore is relatively low; the minister also referred to only 20 retail companies accepting Bitcoin in the country.

It should be noted that in August the top financial authority announced that only a few tokens qualify as means of value, and since then it has issued statements to warn investors about how prone ICO’s are for fraud deployment.

However, last month there was a very particular situation in Singapore. And is that the bank accounts of numerous local companies that use Bitcoin were closed without explanation, although the MAS stated at that time that it would not intervene because the closure was a measure adopted by the banks in question.

Eduardo Gómez

Eduardo Gómez

Eduardo Gómez is a Venezuelan freelance writer and Information's Technology Professional. He discovered Bitcoin in 2012 and has been drawn to it ever since. He also works as a Customer Support Agent at the San Francisco-based Bitcoin startup Purse.io