Singapore May Extend Crypto Regulation to Include Overseas Activities

Under the central bank's proposals, Singapore regulation would end up covering the overseas activities of locally based crypto companies.

Jul 21, 2020 at 2:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 9:33 a.m. UTC

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is seeking to extend its oversight to include cryptocurrency activities outside of its jurisdiction.

  • A proposal from the city-state's central bank would effectively extend the provisions set by the 2019 Payment Services Act (PSA) to include the overseas activities of locally based crypto companies or individuals.
  • That means virtual asset service providers (VASPs) will be obliged to run their overseas activities to the same regulatory standards as their Singapore operations.
  • Per the consultation paper, MAS argues the proposal would stop regulatory arbitrage in which multinational VASPs cherry-pick the regulation that best suits their businesses.
  • This would also align Singapore closer to the anti-money laundering recommendations set last year by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international watchdog.
  • VASPs affected will be those that work overseas but have a "meaningful presence" in Singapore – that is, if their offices and directors are based in the jurisdiction.
  • Further, a company representative would have to be present and answerable to the Singapore regulator at all times.
  • MAS originally floated the idea of extending PSA soon after it was ratified in December 2019.
  • A public consultation period is open until Aug. 20, 2020.
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