Značka: Singapore

Singapore bars crypto service providers from advertising in public spaces

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued a new set of guidelines for digital payment token (DPT) providers, barring them from marketing their services in public areas.The guidelines, which were issued on Jan. 17, also warned the general public of the high risks associated with the crypto market in addition to prohibiting DPT companies from advertising their services in public places such as public transportation, public transportation venues, public websites, social media platforms and broadcast and print media. The new set of guidelines will be applicable for all the registered crypto services providers as well as those who are in the transitional period:“MAS stresses that DPT service providers should conduct themselves with the understanding that trading of DPTs is not suitable for the general public. These Guidelines set out MAS’ expectation that DPT service providers should not promote their DPT services to the general public in Singapore.“Related:  Google running crypto ads again as new policy goes into effectThe new set of guidelines also prohibits crypto service providers from opening physical automated teller machines (ATMs) in public areas. However, DPT companies can still promote or advertise their services on their native websites or mobile applications. The decision from the MAS comes amid the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies along with an increase in the number of physical crypto advertisements in the country.Crypto advertisements have become a growing issue for regulators around the globe, especially given there are very limited regulations around the crypto market. Regulators believe crypto advertisers often try to hide or not disclose the inherent risks associated with crypto trading while advertising high profits. Apart from Singapore, advertisement watchdogs in the United Kingdom, as well as the Indian high court, have also cracked down on crypto advertisements in the recent past.

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Crypto makes history in 2021: Five instances of governments embracing digital assets

As digital asset prices had been hitting new historical highs in 2021, many jurisdictions were increasingly adopting cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and other crypto-based instruments.In addition to Bitcoin crossing $68,000 for the first time since inception, the year of 2021 will be remembered for Bitcoin’s historical adoption as legal tender in El Salvador. The world’s first-ever Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) was also inaugurated in 2021, alongside many other benign regulatory developments around the world.As we glance back at notable global regulatory moments in 2021, Cointelegraph has picked some of the most memorable instances of friendly crypto regulation.1. El Salvador: The first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tenderThe Republic of El Salvador, the smallest nation in Central America, officially adopted Bitcoin as legal tender on Sept. 7, 2021, becoming the world’s first country to do so. Bitcoin was trading at around $47,000 on the day of Bitcoin’s official adoption in the country.El Salvador’s bold Bitcoin move took several months to materialize as president Nayib Bukele had first introduced the “Bitcoin Law,” laying the groundwork for BTC’s usage as an official payment method alongside the United States dollar in June 2021. The Salvadoran Legislative Assembly subsequently passed the law, which amassed a supermajority of 62 out of 84 votes.Known as the “Land of Volcanoes,” El Salvador also moved to deploy its volcanic activity to generate new Bitcoin. In September, president Bukele teased a Bitcoin mining plant powered by volcanic geothermal energy in El Salvador, marking a major case for cutting BTC’s carbon footprint. Soon after, Bukele upped the stakes even further when he announced plans to establish an entire Bitcoin city, funded by BTC bonds.While the crypto community celebrated El Salvador’s BTC drive, global financial authorities like the International Monetary Fund have expressed skepticism about the government’s move into crypto.Related: El Salvador buys 21 Bitcoin to celebrate Dec. 21, 2021Some people in El Salvador were also unhappy with the Bitcoin Law, with some protesting against Bitcoin adoption due to concerns over its unstable price. Some of the protests even resulted in destroyed Bitcoin ATMs.2. The United Arab Emirates: CZ’s new homeThe UAE emerged as one the most crypto-friendly countries in 2021 as authorities in its capital city of Dubai have been ramping up the efforts to enable the crypto industry’s development.In January, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) announced plans to establish a comprehensive crypto regulatory framework as part of its 2021 business plan. The DFSA subsequently issued several regulatory approvals, including one for a major Canadian investment product, The Bitcoin Fund, in October. DFSA has also been working on regulations for investment vehicles like security and derivative tokens.UAE regulators also came up with multiple arrangements to officially allow and support crypto trading in several free economic zones in Dubai. The nation has also been making strides in nonfungible tokens (NFT) adoption as its postal operator issued NFTs in November to commemorate the federation’s 50th National Day.In late 2021, the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority said it will become a comprehensive zone and regulator of cryptocurrencies, products, operators and exchanges.Related: Binance joins fresh crypto hub by Dubai World Trade CentreThe UAE is becoming an attractive destination for some of the world’s largest cryptocurrency companies and industry figures. In October, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao reportedly bought his first home in the “very pro-crypto” Dubai. The Chinese-Canadian business executive had previously claimed that he did not own any real estate as of April 2021. pic.twitter.com/QrgxaHKAp9— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) December 21, 20213. Canada: Crushing the global Bitcoin ETF raceCanada has earned a place on the list of 2021’s most crypto-friendly countries the moment its main securities regulator cleared the takeoff of the world’s first physically-settled Bitcoin ETF at the beginning of the year.Launched by Canadian investment firm Purpose Investments in mid-February, the Purpose Bitcoin ETF saw an explosive debut with $564 million in assets under management in just five days after starting trading.Canada continued leading the global Bitcoin ETF race as Fidelity Canada launched its Fidelity Advantage Bitcoin ETF and the eponymous mutual Bitcoin ETF fund in December. Canada’s Bitcoin ETFs aren’t just available for retail investors but also provide significant benefits for those who open government-registered investment accounts, such as the Tax-Free Savings Accounts.Related: Crypto poses no big risk to economy so far, Bank of Canada official saysOn top of crypto ETF dominance, Canada has been working to introduce more clarity to its crypto regulations in recent years, officially recognizing crypto firms as money service businesses in 2020. In late 2021, Canada’s Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada issued registration for Binance’s local subsidiary, Binance Canada Capital Market. Canada is ranked the fourth largest country in terms of Bitcoin mining power, accounting for 9.6% of the total global hash rate, according to data from the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index.4. Singapore: Crypto is ‘investment in a prospective future,’ says regulatorSingapore continued to be one of the world’s biggest hubs for cryptocurrency exchanges and blockchain enterprises in 2021 as the country’s regulators have done a great deal to nurture the industry.In November, Singapore welcomed two new institutional-grade Bitcoin funds launched by Fintonia Group, a company regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Previously, MAS officially allowed companies like the Australian crypto exchange Independent Reserve and DBS Bank’s brokerage arm, DBS Vickers, to provide digital payment token services in the country.DBS Bank, Singapore’s largest retail and commercial bank, is one of the largest local companies to make a foray into the crypto industry in the past year. The firm posted tenfold crypto volume growth in Q1 2021 after launching its crypto trading platform, DBS Digital Exchange, in late 2020.Related: Singapore to position itself as a global crypto center, says regulatorSome companies with close ties to the government of Singapore are reportedly big fans of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Robert Gutmann, CEO of New York Digital Investment Group, claimed in March that Singaporean government-backed holding company Temasek is a major Bitcoin investor.Singapore is also among the world’s top nations in terms of retail crypto adoption as 43% of Singaporeans own crypto, according to one survey.Despite local authorities welcoming the crypto industry development, a large number of crypto businesses have apparently failed to receive licenses to operate in Singapore in 2021.5. Gibraltar: New target for Huobi exchange after Chinese crackdownGibraltar, a British Overseas Territory and one of the smallest countries in the world, has been emerging as an attractive location for crypto in 2021.In November, Gibraltar welcomed Bullish, a new cryptocurrency exchange launched by the EOS.IO protocol developer, Block.one. The company’s local branch previously obtained a distributed ledger technology license from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC).In September, the GFSC also approved operations of Zubr Exchange Limited, a new local crypto exchange business launched by Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto giant FTX.The government of Gibraltar has been strengthening its ties with global blockchain and crypto industry players. In March, Gibraltar’s minister for digital and financial services, Albert Isola, became an ambassador for the Global Blockchain Business Council, a major industry association.Related: Gibraltar’s government plans to bridge the gap between public and private sectors with blockchainSome of the world’s biggest crypto exchanges entered Gibraltar in 2021 amid growing support from regulators.Following approval from the GFSC, crypto exchange Huobi has reportedly been moving its spot trading operations to its Gibraltar-based affiliate following China’s cryptocurrency crackdown. According to the firm, Chinese operations made up at least 30% of its total trading volumes and revenues before the ban.Crypto-friendly jurisdictions of 2021: Honorable mentionsEl Salvador, the UAE, Canada, Singapore and Gibraltar are, of course, not the only countries that served examples of benign crypto regulation in 2021.Among other increasingly crypto-friendly jurisdictions is Australia, which has been actively moving to adopt new crypto regulations and became a major location for crypto-related ETF listings this year.Liechtenstein, the world’s richest nation per capita, was the country with the most comprehensive cryptocurrency tax policy for the second year in a row in 2021, as per a PwC report. Australia and Malta ranked second, followed by Germany.

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100 digital payment token firms in Singapore fail to win licenses: Report

More than 100 out of 170 “digital payment token services” in Singapore have reportedly failed to obtain licenses from the local financial regulator, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, or MAS. 103 companies related to the digital payment industry in Singapore found their regulatory exemptions removed amid apparently tough regulation, Japan’s financial publication The Nikkei reported Monday, citing data from the MAS.Sanjay Jain, CEO at Dubai-based crypto exchange Bitxmi, said that their Singaporean branch has failed to secure a license from the MAS.“We can’t operate in Singapore,” Jain noted. “We have an office there, but it’s just more or less — there’s one person for our accounting and legal issues.” Bitxmi exchange appears on the official list of entities that are “no longer exempt pursuant to the Payment Services Regulations,” according to the MAS. Published on Wednesday, the list includes local branches of major industry player, including BitGo Singapore, Revolut Technology Singapore, South Korean blockchain firm Klaytn and others.Another list of entities that were granted an exemption from holding a license under the Payment Services Act includes Bitstamp Limited, Coinbase Singapore, Gemini Trust and others.MAS reportedly said that the authority wants to support crypto and blockchain adoption but it’s also willing to recognize the risks. “Cryptocurrencies could be abused for money laundering, terrorism financing or proliferation financing due to the speed and cross-border nature of the transactions,” one MAS representative reportedly stated, adding:“Digital payment token service providers in Singapore have to comply with requirements to mitigate such risks, including the need to carry out proper customer due diligence, conduct regular account reviews, and monitor and report suspicious transactions.”Related: Singapore to position itself as global crypto center, says regulatorThe news comes amid some of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges leaving Singapore. Binance.sg, the local branch of the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance, stopped onboarding new users on Dec. 13, announcing plans to completely wind down operations by mid-February. Previously, Huobi exchange disclosed plans to shut down accounts of all Singapore-based users by the end of March 2022 in order to re-enter Singapore through another local entity.

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SBI Holdings invests in Singapore crypto exchange Coinhako

Tokyo-based financial services giant SBI Holdings announced a joint investment in Coinhako, Singapore’s first licensed crypto exchange approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The Coinhako investment was made via a fund jointly set up by SBI and Swiss-based Sygnum Bank, namely, the SBI-Sygnum-Azimut Digital Asset Opportunity (DAO) Fund, according to the notice.Speaking to Cointelegraph, a MAS spokesperson highlighted the importance of seeking licensing approvals for crypto businesses:“MAS’ approach to regulation under the Payment Services Act seeks to facilitate innovation while ensuring that adequate controls are in place to address key risks such as money laundering and terrorism financing.”Coinhako became the first crypto-asset exchange from Singapore to get in-principle approval from MAS to conduct Digital Payment Token (DPT) services, the same license application that Binance withdrew on Dec. 13. In this regard, MAS spokesperson told Cointelegraph:“Applicants are able to withdraw their applications should they see fit, upon which those who are operating under the exemption will be required to cease providing regulated payment services. Binance Asia Services has provided MAS with a plan for the orderly cessation of its regulated payment services.”With SBI’s fund infusion and a pre-existing international network, Coinhako plans to “expand our business to other countries in Southeast Asia while being based in Singapore.” According to SBI, the fund will be co-managed by both parties involved with a focus on financial market infrastructure and distributed ledger technology.Related: Singapore suspends exchange Bitget’s license over K-pop coin promotionThe Monetary Authority of Singapore suspended the license of Bitget after the digital asset platform listed a K-pop-related cryptocurrency, Army Coin (ARMY).Source: Facebook screenshotAs Cointelegraph reported, the listing and promotion of ARMY reportedly violated the boy band’s intellectual property rights without permission. Going on the offensive, the crypto exchange claimed to have licenses in other jurisdictions such as Australia, Canada and the United States, as it announced:“We are currently looking into the legal violations in this case, including the cryptocurrency’s infringement on our artists’ portrait rights without permission from or discussion with the agency. We will take legal action against all infringements and violations.”

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Binance Singapore withdraws crypto license application

Crypto exchange Binance has withdrawn its license application for pursuing digital payment token (DPT) services in Singapore. Starting today, Binance.sg has stopped onboarding new users and will not allow Singaporeans to deposit cryptocurrencies or fiat on the exchange.By Feb 13, 2022, Binance plans to “wind down” all services that relate to dealing with cryptocurrency tokens. However, the exchange announced to take no responsibility for the users’ assets after the self-determined deadline:“With immediate effect, users must start to make plans to withdraw their crypto and fiat from Binance.sg. Accounts of registered users who have not passed KYC will be suspended.”Binance Singapore users are currently allowed to buy and sell crypto using their existing assets until Jan. 12, 2022. Starting Jan. 13, Binance.sg users will be barred from buying and selling crypto. During this phase:“Users can only withdraw and move their crypto to third-party platforms or crypto wallets; and/or withdraw their SGD. All accounts must be closed by 13 February 2022.”Binance plans to make further arrangements to release users’ assets upon an official request to the company’s customer service.Following the final date, Binance will not allow any Singapore users to close positions or withdraw crypto assets. “The locked crypto assets will be held in an escrow account and your fiat assets will be transferred to your StraitsX Personal Account,” the announcement read.“We recommend that you take action as soon as possible before the deadline for account closure (13 February 2022). Please note that BAS will not be held responsible for any losses that result from your failure to withdraw your assets and close your account by 13 February 2022.”Binance has not yet responded to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.Related: Binance reportedly in talks to launch crypto exchange in IndonesiaDespite the ongoing regulatory scrutiny, Binance continues to explore new jurisdictions for setting up localized crypto exchanges. Binance is reportedly in talks with Indonesia’s richest family, the Hartonos, for launching an exchange service. According to a Bloomberg report, Binance may soon finalize a crypto venture with Hartonos-controlled PT Bank Central Asia (BCA).If approved, the new BCA partnership will allow for the launch of a second crypto venture for Binance in Indonesia. The crypto exchange is also planning to expand to the United Kingdom in the next six to 18 months amid regulatory resistance.

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Binance Singapore arm acquires 18% stake in private stock exchange

Binance Asia Services, the Singapore arm of major cryptocurrency exchange Binance, has acquired a stake in a local private securities exchange, Hg Exchange (HGX).On Dec. 7, the company officially announced an acquisition of a post-money 18% stake in HGX, a stock exchange licensed and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.Binance Singapore CEO Richard Teng said that the new investment will help Binance and HGX further expand the scale of products and services “supported by blockchain technology” in Singapore.“Crypto and traditional financial offerings continue to converge. We aim to work collaboratively with HGX to enhance the blockchain ecosystem in Singapore,” Teng stated.HGX is a community-driven private stock exchange, founded by financial institutions like wealth management firm PhillipCapital, local financial services group PrimePartners, and Fundnel, a Southeast Asian private investment technology platform. The exchange reportedly uses the Zilliqa blockchain.After working as CEO of Financial Services Regulatory Authority at Abu Dhabi Global Market, Teng joined Binance Singapore as CEO in August 2021, a few years after the Singaporean branch was launched. According to the CEO, Binance continues working closely with “key government agencies” to support the growth of the blockchain ecosystem and is actively hiring local talent.Related: Singapore suspends exchange Bitget’s license over K-pop coin promotionThe new investment comes soon after Binance experienced some regulatory issues in Singapore. In late September, Binance restricted Singapore users from using its platform, citing compliance matters. Previously, Binance limited product offerings in Singapore amid regulators alleging that the company may have violated payments laws.Huobi opted to exit Singapore as a global company in order to launch a dedicated local entity in November 2021.

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Singapore suspends Bitget exchange license over K-Pop coin promotion

Singapore-headquartered digital asset platform, Bitget, has reportedly been suspended by the Monetary Authority of Singapore after getting into a dispute with an agency for the popular K-Pop boy band BTS.As reported by the Financial Times on Dec. 5, Bitget lost the Singapore license following the controversial listing of a new K-Pop-related cryptocurrency called Army Coin. However, the crypto exchange still claims to have licenses in other jurisdictions such as Australia, Canada, and the United States.The issue arose on Oct. 25, when the Bitget exchange shared a tweet promoting Army Coin, which is named after the South Korean boyband’s followers.It allegedly used misleading information such as, “This coin exists for the benefit of BTS” and “ARMY coin aims to take care of BTS members for life”.The exchange reportedly violated the band agency’s portrait rights by showcasing the new cryptocurrency on their website using the “ARMY” ticker and BTS’s name and images without permission. Once the agency, Hybe, received information that the cryptocurrency had been listed on the Singapore-based exchange, they announced: “We are currently looking into the legal violations in this case, including the cryptocurrency’s infringement on our artists’ portrait rights without permission from or discussion with the agency. We will take legal action against all infringements and violations.”It added that the coin had “no affiliation” with BTS and urged those that had lost money on it to contact the police. Bitget responded to the statement according to reports, by clarifying that as a trading platform, they did not create the coin itself and will take no responsibility for it. However, the ARMY token was delisted by the exchange on Dec. 3. The FT reported that the coin was available for trading in other jurisdictions on Bitget, including in South Korea.Founded in Singapore in 2018, Bitget claims to have over 1.5 million registered users worldwide, and after their most recent Series B funding is valued at US$1 Billion.Related: Singaporean crypto exchange enters India amid regulatory uncertaintyBitget was cast into the industry spotlight after securing a sponsorship deal with Italian soccer giants Juventus in September and becoming an official partner of PGL Major Stockholm 2021 in October. In June, Bitget also inked a partnership with stablecoin issuer Circle to become one of the first exchanges to list USD Coin (USDC) as collateral for trading crypto derivatives.

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