Business 24 September 2018Erik Gibbs
Singapore could be the first country to fully embrace crypto
Singapore is embracing a winning attitude toward cryptocurrency. The country recently held its Singapore Consensus 2018 conference, designed to discuss the future of the industry and help Singapore craft guidelines for its use and acceptance. As the conference showed, Singapore is way out in front of other developed countries in terms of understanding crypto and preparing for its future.
One of the conference participants was the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The MAS has developed a clear distinction between different types of digital assets and puts them into one of three categories – payment tokens, security tokens and utility tokens. To make that determination, Damien Pang, who heads up the FinTech Ecosystem division for the MAS, explained, “MAS takes a close look at the characteristics of the tokens, in the past, at the present, and in the future, instead of just the technology built on.”
Pang also indicated that the agency has no plans on regulating the technology itself, but will regulate its purpose. Neither will it introduce regulations for all crypto products under one umbrella. He indicated that payment and security tokens will certainly require some form of oversight because of their nature, but utility tokens don’t need to be covered by the same framework.
Singapore has always been on the cutting edge of a number of industries, including entertainment, healthcare, education, tourism and FinTech. It now wants to maintain that edge by pushing forward with creating the necessary framework for cryptocurrency adoption.
Across the globe, cryptocurrency enthusiasts are having to struggle against regulations – or the lack thereof – in order to advance adoption. Some countries make it difficult for businesses to engage the space, which means fewer are willing to take the step forward. Singapore is the exact opposite and is setting the bar pretty high. Because of its position, it was the first country chosen by Crypto.com for its new cryptocurrency prepaid card program.
Singapore has recognized what many cannot see – that cryptocurrency may very well have a permanent place in the financial world. While the country isn’t ready to totally embrace the industry, it is certainly open to the possibility of crypto being on the same level as fiat. This past February, Singapore Deputy Prime Minister and MAS chairman said, “As of now, there is no strong case to ban cryptocurrency trading here. But we will be subjecting those involved as intermediaries to our anti-money laundering regulations…”
It’s still early in the life of cryptocurrency and no one can predict where we will be in five or ten years. This is why it is so fascinating to be alive now and be a part of the currency evolution. Undoubtedly, crypto is here to stay and this is supported by the continued increase in awareness and adoption and the fact that governments are starting to take the industry more seriously.
This article has been updated to correct that Crypto.com’s Visa card is a prepaid card, not debit card as was initially indicated.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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