Singapore proposes regulatory framework for payment service providers including bitcoin

The Government of Singapore has proposed a new regulatory framework for payments providers, including digital currency exchanges dealing with bitcoin.

Under the proposal made by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, companies dealing in bitcoin would be required to obtain a license with “regulation [that] will be applied on an activity basis, and entities will only be required to apply for a single license to undertake several payment activities.”

The authority added that “The proposed framework aims to strengthen standards of consumer protection, anti-money laundering, and cyber security related to payment activities while facilitating innovation and system interoperability.”

According to Coindesk administration for the new laws would fall under a new council, the “National Payments Council” that would steer policy and coordinate with industry stakeholders with members of the council being drawn from both the public and private sector.

Bitcoin and related blockchain companies with offices in Singapore include CoinHako, BitX, Coinbase, and Quoine.

Smart nation

Singapore announced in 2015 that it wanted to become the world’s first smart nation that included a commitment to the Internet of Things and developing technologies.

“We are working to ‘dashboard’ the entire nation of Singapore, and to use a range of data to continuously improve how we provide critical services to citizens in areas such as health care, transport, and resources,” Steve Leonard, the executive deputy chairman of Infocomm Development Authority, Singapore’s national technology arm, said at the time.

That commitment to becoming a smart nation has developed to embrace fintech and blockchain development, including a support for a blockchain-based record keeping trial as part of a $225 million package devoted to financial technology experimentation in July last year.

Singapore has quickly developed as a haven within South East Asia and the great Asian region for companies looking to build businesses catering to the world’s largest population center and has done so through a affordable corporate tax regime and regulatory environment that encourages foreign investment in the city-state, unlike a number of its neighbors such as Thailand which struggle with xenophobia when it comes to allowing foreign startups to set up shop.

While the terms of digital currency regulation still need to be sorted out, the move to properly regulate bitcoin could potentially see a boost for venture capital supported bitcoin companies who a looking for regulated safe havens which they can base themselves in.

A full copy of the initial regulatory proposal can be viewed here (pdf).

Image credit: Erwin Soo/Wikimedia Commons/CC by 2.0
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Duncan Riley

Duncan Riley

Duncan Riley is a senior writer at SiliconANGLE covering Startups, Bitcoin, and the Internet of Things.

Duncan is a co-founder of VC funded media company B5Media and founder of news site The Inquisitr, and was a senior writer at TechCrunch in its earlier days.

Tips? Press releases? Intersting startup? email: or contact Duncan on Twitter @duncanriley

Duncan Riley


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