The country now requires procedures to permit those who operate with cryptocurrencies. Only crypto companies such as Ripple Labs Singapore, Coinbase Singapore, and Binance Asia Services are excepted.

A 23-year-old Singaporean woman is accused of unlicensed Bitcoin trafficking. She is the first person to be charged under the state’s Payment Services Act.

So far, there is no more information about this woman. Last June 23rd, Singapore police said the woman had provided an unlicensed digital payment token service. Police allege that the woman received at least 13 fraudulent fund transfers, totaling SGD 3,350 (USD 2,400), an amount that she used to buy bitcoins (BTC).

Besides, Singapore police believe that the woman obtained money from victims of online scams. The police claim that the woman made the fraudulent transactions “at the instruction of an unknown person”, in exchange for a commission.

The Singapore Payment Services Act (PSA) went into effect last January 28th. This law regulates payments in cryptocurrencies and commercial companies, following some aspects of the Singapore State regulatory regime for traditional payment services.

As previously mentioned, this law introduced different measures, among which are multiple registrations and license requirements for industrial and commercial companies. Cryptocurrency payment services must also comply with the Financial Advisers Act,the Insurance Act, the Securities and Futures Act, and the Trust Companies Act.

Due to all these requirements, some users try to circumvent the controls to avoid the procedures or the fact that they do not have permission to operate with cryptocurrencies. However, the new rules place crypto services under the supervision of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Other Details About the Law

Unlike the United States, the Monetary Authority of Singapore does not make a distinction between the various types of “pay”, “utility” and “value” tokens. In Singapore, these digital assets are within a broader category of digital payment tokens. This makes it more difficult to circumvent certain regulatory requirements.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s central bank and the main financial regulatory authority, exempted several major payment services from having a financial license under the Payment Services Act (PSA). The rest, especially if they are small businesses or people who work independently, should seek permission.

As MAS noted, Ripple Labs Singapore, Coinbase Singapore, and Binance Asia Services can provide services without a PSA license until July 28th, 2020. MAS detailed that the exemption will cease after the specified period or if the entity submits a license application under the PSA.

Some cryptocurrency companies got a longer exemption period. For example, BitGo Singapore, a local subsidiary of one of the world’s largest Bitcoin (BTC) payment processors, and Gemini Trust Company, a cryptocurrency exchange and custody service run by the Winklevoss twins. Both of them received 12-exemption months, until January 28th, 2021.

In this way, the rest of the companies that operate with crypto assets need permission to work without problems since the state will verify the operation of these companies to avoid fraud or affecting users.

By María Rodríguez


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