Singapore’s central bank is in the final stages of reviewing applications for licenses to provide crypto services, including payments and the operation of cryptocurrency exchanges, according to Tharman Shanmugaratnam, minister in charge of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which regulates financial institutions in Singapore.

Fast facts

  • To date, Singapore has received over 480 crypto service license applications under the Payment Services Act, which came into effect in January 2020, said Shanmugaratnam yesterday in a written reply to a parlimentary question. Of these, around 170 applicants — or 35% — have applied to provide DPT services 170 applications for a license to provide digital payment token (DPT) services.
  • No crypto license has been issued to DPT providers in Singapore to date. DPT service providers such as cryptocurrency exchanges Binance Asia Services, Coinbase Singapore and Gemini currently operate in Singapore with an exemption from holding a licence under the Payment Services Act. The exemption is in force until applications are approved or rejected by MAS, or withdrawn by the applicant.
  • Thirty DPT applications were withdrawn following engagement with the Singapore authority and two were rejected, Shanmugaratnam said. The list of entities that are no longer exempt can be found here.
  • “MAS closely scrutinises all applications and considers various factors. These include the applicant’s understanding of risks relating to money laundering and financing of terrorism (“ML/TF”) and the technology risks posed by their business model, as well as the adequacy of controls instituted to mitigate such risks,” Shanmugaratnam said. “We will reject applicants who fail to meet the required standards for ML/TF and technology risks set out in MAS’ regulations and notices.”