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Singapore Singapore Guide

Singapore and Cryptocurrencies Over the past few decades, Singapore has established itself as one of the financial and technology centers of the world. For western companies, it has become a gateway to the Asian markets. It also serves as the main asian office for several tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook. When it […]

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Singapore and Cryptocurrencies

Over the past few decades, Singapore has established itself as one of the financial and technology centers of the world. For western companies, it has become a gateway to the Asian markets. It also serves as the main asian office for several tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook. When it comes to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, Singapore has taken steps to position itself as a reasonable choice for cryptocurrency companies to settle in. Like in many countries, Bitcoin is not yet recognized as a legal tender in Singapore. However, cryptocurrency exchanges and trading are legal and they do not require registration with the financial service authority. This puts it ahead of other neighboring countries in the region making it a favorite for many crypto companies.

Crypto Regulations in Singapore

Throughout the years, Singapore has further cemented itself as a forward-thinking jurisdiction especially for the cryptocurrency industry. The Monetary Authority of Singapore is the central bank of Singapore and its financial services regulator. It is the one in charge of regulating financial services where cryptocurrencies fall under. For example, with the case of Bitcoin, it is treated as a form of “goods” so applies its standard value added tax (VAT) to it. Having explicit rules helps companies navigate and adhere to the regulations. The problem with other countries is that there are no clear rules so it is very risky for crypto companies to set their base there.

AML and CTF Rules for Crypto

In January of 2020, the MAS announced that Singapore’s Payment Services Act 2019 (PSA) will include Digital Payment Token (DPT) services under its current anti-money laundering (AML) and counter terrorist-financing (CTF) rules. This covers all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. With regulations like this, Singapore’s AML compliance rules readies crypto companies in its jurisdiction to comply with the Financial Action Task Force’s recommendations.

License Exemption Under Payment Services Act

In March of 2020, the MAS have granted an exemption to certain companies from needing a license to operate under the Payment Services Act 2019 (PSA) for a period of 6 months. The specific list consisted of companies that were already operating even before the PSA went into effect on Jan 28. However, these companies must first report to the MAS about their business and request for the exemption. This extension granted to them gives them some leeway to continue operating while applying for the license.

The list of cryptocurrency companies that must comply with the new Payment Services Act by July 28 include prominent companies like Binance Asia Services, Bitcoin Exchange, Bitstamp, Coinbase, Ripple Labs Singapore, and Upbit Singapore. Crypto companies that are able to provide other services in addition to crypto ones include Bitgo Singapore, Gemini Trust Company, Ledgerx, Paxos Global, and Wirex.

Buying Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies in Singapore

Since cryptocurrency exchanges are allowed to operate in Singapore, buying cryptocurrencies through a crypto exchange is one of the easiest ways to do so. Some exchanges like Upbit Singapore allow users to deposit SGD and buy Bitcoin directly with it. You can refer to our cryptocurrency exchange guides to see the differences among the different exchanges when it comes to different criteria such as transaction fees, security, verification requirements, and payment methods.

Aside from exchanges, you can also buy Bitcoin from Bitcoin ATM machines all over singapore. A clear advantage is that they do not require KYC so you can buy anonymously. However, they do charge a bigger fee compared to exchanges at around 5%-10%. Right now, there are around 8 Bitcoin ATMs in Singapore. A list is available in this link: Bitcoin ATM Singapore – find bitcoin machine locations

Spending Bitcoin in Singapore

No matter how good the regulation is, adoption from merchants will be the key to Bitcoin’s mass adoption. Even though Singapore is a small country it already has a bustling scene of merchants accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. From breweries to art galleries and daily delivery services, cryptocurrencies are starting to get accepted more and more by the mainstream. CoinMap offers a bird’s overview of the different Bitcoin related facilities in Singapore. CoinMap Singapore

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