Singapore Tightens Crypto Rules with New Law on Licenses for Virtual Asset Firms

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Source: AdobeStock / martinhosmat083


In a bid to enforce tightened rules for crypto businesses, Singapore’s unicameral parliament has passed a law that will oblige virtual asset service providers (VASPs) to apply for licenses.

The latest development extends the country’s regulations on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, Bloomberg reported.

Among others, the passed Financial Services and Markets Bill:

  • assigns new powers to Singapore’s Monetary Authority which will be able to prohibit persons considered as unfit to perform key roles, functions and activities from working in the fields of payments and risk management;
  • increases the maximum penalty that can be imposed on financial institutions that disrupt their services to SGD 1m (USD 738,000).

The bill was passed shortly after Singapore-based banking giant DBS scrapped plans to open its crypto exchange services to retail investors amid mounting regulatory concern. The bank previously claimed it was aiming to open services aligned to its members-only DBS Digital Exchange crypto trading platform to retail investors by the end of this year.

It is yet unknown how the new regulatory framework will impact the activities on major crypto industry players, and whether the application process will discourage some companies from entering the South-East Asian market. 

Last December, crypto exchange giant Binance declared it would shut down its Singapore exchange and “refocus” the company’s Singapore-based Binance Asia Services operations into a “blockchain innovation hub.”

Last month, Singapore’s crypto industry welcomed a ruling by The High Court of Singapore, the lower division of the country’s Supreme Court, in what many considered a sign of a potential enhancement of crypto’s legal status in the city-state. For the first time, a Singaporean court recognized crypto as property and granted proprietary injunctions against persons suspected of its theft.


Learn more:
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