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Here Are All The Licensed Crypto Services Providers in Singapore

Date Posted: 19 August, 2022

On January 14, 2019, the Singapore Parliament passed its comprehensive Payment Services Act (PS Act), replacing the former Payment Systems Oversight Act and Money-Changing and Remittance Businesses Act to broaden the scope of regulated payment activities to include emerging trends and industries like digital assets and cryptocurrencies.

The legislation, which aims to provide regulatory certainty and consumer safeguards in relation to payments activities, all the while encouraging innovation and growth of payment services and fintech, regulates seven services: account issuance, domestic money transfers, cross-border money transfers, merchant acquisition services, e-money issuance, money-changing, and so-called digital payment token (DPT) services.

It also lays out a modular licensing framework comprising three different license classes. Each license allows the holder to conduct multiple specific payment services. The Money-Changing Licence allows businesses to conduct money-changing services; the Standard Payment Institution Licence allows them to conduct multiple payment services below specified thresholds; and the Major Payment Institution Licence allows businesses to conduct multiple payment services without any limits on transaction volume or float.

Since the PS Act came into effect on January 28, 2020, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has received over 580 applications for payments services licenses and completed review of more than half of them, MAS board member Alvin Tan said on April 4, 2022.

87 applications had been approved, 11 rejected, and 147 entities withdrew their applications. Around 179 entities remained exempted from licensing and still awaited regulatory review.

Data from MAS’ Financial Institutions Directory show that, as of August 01, 2022, 231 Money-Changing, 13 Standard Payment Institution, and 175 Major Payment Institution licenses had been issued. Of these, only ten companies were permitted to provide DPT services. In addition, desk research suggest that at least four companies have so far received in-principle approval for either a Standard or Major Payment Institution license.

These figures suggest that despite early claims that a clear regulatory framework would provide a solid foundation for Singapore to consolidate its position as Asia’s crypto hub and allow the nation to see the emergence of a thriving crypto sector, the rules have actually weeded out an awful lot of startups, among which Binance and Huobi.

Further highlighting Singapore’s changing stance towards crypto businesses, several new rules have been introduced this year, which forbid DPT service providers to promote their services to the general public, and require crypto service providers in the city-state which only do business overseas to be licensed regardless.

More regulations are set to hit the market in the coming months, including rules governing retail participation and the use of leverage in crypto investing, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS, wrote in a statement to the Parliament on July 04, 2022.

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