Singapore ICO Guideline Released: Issuers May Apply for Sandbox

Singapore ICO Guideline Released: Issuers May Apply for Sandbox

by November 14, 2017

In light of the increased popularity of ICOs in Singapore, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) published today their guidelines for digital token offerings, more popularly known as ICOs. The guidelines states that if the token is used as a capital market product it will be regulated by the authority.

Ravi Menon, MD, Monetary Authority of Singapore commenting on the Singapore ICO Guideline

Ravi Menon, MD, Monetary Authority of Singapore

Commenting on the matter during his speech today at the Singapore Fintech Festival, Ravi Menon, Managing Director, MAS said “MAS does not regulate virtual currencies; in fact, we welcome them as an innovation that can potentially reduce the cost of financial transactions. But we regulate the activities that surround virtual currencies if these activities pose specific risks.”

He then added, “Virtual currencies can go beyond being a means of payment to representing ownership of assets, as we see in many Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs. This makes them look very much like a share or bond certificate. So, if the digital token is structured like a security, then the ICO must meet the requirements of the Securities and Futures Act. This is to protect investors.”

The Singapore ICO guideline also stated that ICOs that does not fall under the categorisation of capital markets will also be subject to the authorities regulatory purview for the purposes of Anti Money Laundering and Counter Finance Terrorism. The guideline also noted that firms intending to apply the technology in an innovative way can also apply to be in the fintech regulatory sandbox, if approved MAS will providing regulatory support by relaxing regulatory requirements.

MAS also intends to establish a new payments services framework (“New Payments Framework”) that will include rules to address money laundering and terrorism financing risks relating to the dealing or exchange of virtual currencies for fiat or other virtual currencies. Such intermediaries will be required to put in place policies, procedures and controls to address such risks. These will include requirements to conduct customer due diligence, monitor transactions, perform screening, report suspicious transactions and keep adequate records.