Singapore scales digital currency regulations as MAS gets additional power

Singapore scales digital currency regulations as MAS gets additional power

Singapore is stepping up its efforts to regulate the domestic digital currency industry, this time targeting firms that are based in the country but offering their services outside the city-state.

Last week, lawmakers in Singapore approved the Financial Services and Markets Bill 2022, which further expanded the jurisdiction of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s de facto central bank and digital currency regulator. The law covers virtual asset service providers (VASPs) who in digital currencies, exchanges, and firms that offer financial advice on the sale of such currencies and tokens.

Under the previous regulatory regime, the MAS only had authority over VASPs, which were based in the country and offered their services locally. This led to some regulatory loopholes in which a firm could claim to be regulated by the MAS, which is a reputable watchdog globally, but not be directly supervised by the regulator.

Alvin Tan, a board member of the MAS who spoke on behalf of Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, said that the regulator was worried about the reputational risk that the loophole presented.

“Digital token service providers could easily structure their businesses to evade regulation in any one jurisdiction, as they operate mainly online. We could be exposed to reputational risks brought by DT service providers created in Singapore, and which provide services relating to virtual assets such as Bitcoin outside Singapore,” Tan said.

The new law was well received by some who believe that it will make the industry more reputable and further increase protections for investors. Legitimate firms operating within the confines of the law have nothing to fear, the law’s supporters say.

One of them is Anndy Lian, the chairman of Dutch exchange BigONE, who deems the new regulations reasonable.

“If you walk the ground hard enough, you will see many bad actors and dubious crypto companies using Singapore as a base of their operations. We need to properly regulate things so that the bad actors won’t affect this industry’s image,” Lian said, speaking to Nikkei Asia.

There are others who don’t support the new law, which they claim is just another burden being piled on by regulators on a nascent industry that could prove fatal to its growth.

“Sad, disappointed—we went 10 steps backwards. So MAS is making the assumption that the license is like gold—that everyone will want to get it?” One member of a digital currency group in the city-state stated.

There are also concerns related to the MAS’ processing of licensing applications. As CoinGeek reported in December, the MAS received about 180 applications for licenses by VASPs. Of these, 103 were either rejected or the applicants had withdrawn them after realizing they had not met the standards. At the time, only three firms had been granted operating licenses, with 70 applications being in consideration.

This long queue of applications was just with local firms that target the Singaporean market. VASPS will take longer to get licensed in the city-state with the new law. This will require some firms to move out of Singapore or dig deeper into their pockets to get through the scrutiny.

“For companies that are unable to fulfill the AML/CFT requirement, they will need to move out to other countries. But with more governments regulating cryptocurrency in different jurisdictions, these companies will soon find it hard to operate,” Desmond Yong, the chief strategy officer at Digital Treasures Center, commented.

This new MAS crackdown piles onto others, such as a ban on digital currency ads in public places, which kicked off in January, and the shutdown of digital currency ATMs.

 

Original Source: https://coingeek.com/singapore-scales-digital-currency-regulations-as-mas-gets-additional-power/

Anndy Lian is an early blockchain adopter and experienced serial entrepreneur who is known for his work in the government sector. He is a best selling book author “Blockchain Revolution 2030”.

Currently, he is appointed as the Chief Digital Advisor at Mongolia Productivity Organization, championing national digitization. Prior to his current appointments, he was the Chairman of BigONE Exchange, a global top 30 ranked crypto spot exchange and was also the Advisory Board Member for Hyundai DAC, the blockchain arm of South Korea’s largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group. Lian played a pivotal role as the Blockchain Advisor for Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an intergovernmental organization committed to improving productivity in the Asia-Pacific region.

An avid supporter of incubating start-ups, Anndy has also been a private investor for the past eight years. With a growth investment mindset, Anndy strategically demonstrates this in the companies he chooses to be involved with. He believes that what he is doing through blockchain technology currently will revolutionise and redefine traditional businesses. He also believes that the blockchain industry has to be “redecentralised”.

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Are Regulations and Sanctions Driving Change in the Crypto Industry?

Are Regulations and Sanctions Driving Change in the Crypto Industry?

The powerful combination of incoming crypto regulation in the US, and the immediate global impact of Russian sanctions, mean the crypto exchange market looks to be in for a serious shake up in 2022. Just this week US Senator Elizabeth Warren announced a new piece of legislation to stop crypto businesses outside the US from working with sanctioned companies. It also authorizes the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to force US citizens with crypto transactions of $10,000 or more to report them.

Clearly global sanctions against Russia have moved crypto exchanges firmly into the center of geo-politics for the first time. Coinbase announced it was banning 25,000 Russian accounts. While Binance declared that: “To unilaterally decide to ban people’s access to their crypto would fly in the face of the reason why crypto exists.” But just as revealing was the news from Wasabi Wallet that it will start introducing censorship methods into its mixing procedures, showing that fear of regulation was starting to impact beyond mainstream exchanges even before Warren’s planned legislative action.

What this means in all probability is that the advantage the exchanges outside the US had in largely ignoring regulations, benefiting from lower overheads and restrictions to their business activity is well and truly over. It’s not all bad news, as the positive response to the US administration’s crypto executive order shows, but it certainly means the industry needs to consider what this means for the long term, and what this means for crypto investors and traders looking for the best deal or the most secure transactions.

The US executive order underlines the seismic changes in the administration’s approach to crypto by seeking “to establish the first-ever comprehensive federal digital assets strategy for the United States” and by directing the Depart of Commerce to create a framework that “drives U.S. competitiveness and leadership in, and leveraging of, digital asset technologies.” In summary the administration’s six key priorities, according to the fact sheet, are to protect US interests, protect global financial stability, prevent illegal uses, promote responsible innovation, financial inclusion, and US leadership. As confirmed in a CoinDesk report, the order does not lay out specific positions the administration wants agencies to adopt, or impose new regulations on the sector. Indeed, it was welcomed by many in the industry who see it as a positive step forward. According to Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of Circle, which runs stablecoin USDC, “this is a watershed moment for crypto, digital assets, and Web 3 akin to 1996/1997 entire government wakeup to the commercial internet.”

Circle CEO Jeremey Allaire in a Twitter thread responding to the news.

But as the legislative moves by Senator Warren demonstrate, its actions and not words that count. The recent news of action to reign in the SEC by the US Congress after its enforcement arm chased “information from unregulated cryptocurrency and blockchain industry participants in a manner inconsistent with the Commission’s standards for initiating investigations” shows that significant risks for crypto exchanges remain while the US decides its crypto policy.

Despite the understandable focus on the US crypto regulation in recent weeks this sea change hasn’t appeared overnight, for example the China ban on crypto trading and mining took place in 2021, after the ICO ban in 2017. In contrast in Singapore, a leading location for the crypto industry, as late as July 2021, while the rest of the world was hellbent on cracking down on crypto, “crypto players like Binance have found Singapore to be a paradise of opportunity, even while a regulations storm looms over the industry in other parts of the globe.” As recently as last October following the latest crypto crackdown in China, the city-state of Singapore was seen as a chief beneficiary of fleeing businesses.

But then in December 2021 Binance, with a daily turnover of US$76 billion, no doubt fed up with the delays and opaqueness of the MAS licensing system, withdrew its Singapore application. In 2022 how Binance responded is also revealing, with its move to partner with Paysafe in the UK, providing the exchange with access to the UK payments network despite concerns from the UK financial regulator the FCA. While this week Binance’s CEO CZ has been meeting Brazilian regulators after signing an MOU to buy a securities brokerage and secured a virtual asset license in Dubai in a series of moves underling its look to secure its future in a more regulated crypto marketplace.

All these moves, along with competitors such as FTX and Coinbase, are to establish a future in the more regulated global environment in crypto. Anndy Lian, chairman of BigONE Exchange said, “I believe these twin forces of policy regulation led by the US, and even tighter Russian sanctions on crypto transactions, will in the near future in the next 12 – 18 months result in an expanded more regulated sector with greater competition particularly between exchanges and tighter profit margins than in the past.” Speaking after his expert contribution to Crypto Expo Dubai, Lian suggested this meant that decentralized exchanges, and privacy platforms, will be more clearly separated from the mainstream than in the past. “What does this mean for mainstream exchange service and offerings? The bottom line is that it’s got to be led by the needs of the community, by the exchange’s users,” he added.

How best to accomplish this community involvement is clearly still up for grabs. Notable are the remarks by Ethereum’s co-founder Joseph Lubin who has questioned the longer term viability of Solana, which in his eyes pays overly generous rewards to users validating transactions on the network, all backed up by generous VC cash. Solana needs to “figure out a more sustainable business model for the network”, Lubin said. In response to Lubin’s criticism, Solana Labs, said that “simply looking at protocol revenue doesn’t tell the full story of the long-term performance” of a blockchain’s economic model. Figuring out the economic model for crypto businesses, faced with new regulation and Russian sanctions, whether decentralized or centralized, is key to the future of the long term future of the crypto sector.

Speaking on the panel ‘Why are crypto exchanges still flourishing?’ at Crypto Expo Dubai on March 16 Lian warned: “I believe being regulated is a very good thing, it’s the reason I invested my time in giving cryptocurrency and blockchain advice to government over the years. But the thing is we also have to understand the other side of the crypto startup equation which is innovation; if we kept ourselves solely in the sandbox environment, in a closed regulated environment it the real risk is the innovative decentralized aspect will be lost and we’ll end up with a centralized world.”

 

Original Source: https://www.securities.io/are-regulations-and-sanctions-driving-change-in-the-crypto-industry/

Anndy Lian is an early blockchain adopter and experienced serial entrepreneur who is known for his work in the government sector. He is a best selling book author “Blockchain Revolution 2030”.

Currently, he is appointed as the Chief Digital Advisor at Mongolia Productivity Organization, championing national digitization. Prior to his current appointments, he was the Chairman of BigONE Exchange, a global top 30 ranked crypto spot exchange and was also the Advisory Board Member for Hyundai DAC, the blockchain arm of South Korea’s largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group. Lian played a pivotal role as the Blockchain Advisor for Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an intergovernmental organization committed to improving productivity in the Asia-Pacific region.

An avid supporter of incubating start-ups, Anndy has also been a private investor for the past eight years. With a growth investment mindset, Anndy strategically demonstrates this in the companies he chooses to be involved with. He believes that what he is doing through blockchain technology currently will revolutionise and redefine traditional businesses. He also believes that the blockchain industry has to be “redecentralised”.

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28th EMBA Sharing Session: Blockchain Regulations & Polices- Decentralised, Tokenised, Commerialised

28th EMBA Sharing Session: Blockchain Regulations & Polices- Decentralised, Tokenised, Commerialised

Anndy Lian will be speaking to groups of businessmen, entrepreneurs, technologists on regulations and policy for blockchain and cryptocurrency. He will also guide them on how to commercialize their existing business using new tokenisation models and how DECENT solutions can fit nicely into what businesses need.

”Due to the coronavirus, many activities are halted. But businesses got to go on, innovations too. During this downtime, it is the best time for businesses to learn new things and develop their technological needs. I look forward to the sharing tomorrow.” Anndy Lian said.

Anndy is an intergovernmental blockchain advisor. He currently plays a pivotal role as the Blockchain Advisor for Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an intergovernmental organisation committed to improving productivity in the Asia-Pacific region. He is also part of the Gyeongsangbuk-do Blockchain Special Committee, Government of Republic Korea, together with industry experts such as Brock Pierce.

Currently, he is also the CEO & Chairman, Asia for DECENT Group, an international blockchain solutions company that has been around in the market since 2015.

This is an EMBA sharing session, organised by GBHB and curated by Blockcast.cc. The session will be held on 12 March 2020, 9 to 10 pm Singapore Time.

For more information, you can reach Anndy Lian directly at www.anndy.com/contact.

 

Anndy Lian is an early blockchain adopter and experienced serial entrepreneur who is known for his work in the government sector. He is a best selling book author “Blockchain Revolution 2030”.

Currently, he is appointed as the Chief Digital Advisor at Mongolia Productivity Organization, championing national digitization. Prior to his current appointments, he was the Chairman of BigONE Exchange, a global top 30 ranked crypto spot exchange and was also the Advisory Board Member for Hyundai DAC, the blockchain arm of South Korea’s largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group. Lian played a pivotal role as the Blockchain Advisor for Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an intergovernmental organization committed to improving productivity in the Asia-Pacific region.

An avid supporter of incubating start-ups, Anndy has also been a private investor for the past eight years. With a growth investment mindset, Anndy strategically demonstrates this in the companies he chooses to be involved with. He believes that what he is doing through blockchain technology currently will revolutionise and redefine traditional businesses. He also believes that the blockchain industry has to be “redecentralised”.

j j j