Singapore has announced its intention to simplify regulations on payments in a move that will also recognize and cater to the needs of businesses dealing in Bitcoin.
Also read: Japan Risks Falling Behind Amid Blockchain Talent Shortage
Singapore Wants ‘Consolidated’ Framework
In a public consultation released today, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) states its intention to “create a consolidated activity and risk-based regulatory framework.”
This framework will be “forward looking and will provide for licensing, regulation, and supervision of all relevant segments of the payments ecosystem and remittance businesses in Singapore,” the document states.
Currently, the two major payments regulations in Singapore are the result of the decidedly non-consolidated “Payment Systems (Oversight) Act” and the “Money-changing and Remittance Businesses Act,” Finextra reports.
The new package, referred to as the “Proposed Payments Framework” (PPF), simplifies the landscape across the board for businesses, allowing one license to cover multiple forms of transacting, for example.
The public will be able to submit official comments regarding the new regulation until October 31 of this year.
“With technological advancements and the advent of FinTech, the lines between payment systems, SVFs, and remittances are blurring rapidly. This is especially striking for remittance,” the consultation paper continues.
Bitcoin Mentioned as ‘Anonymous Instrument’
Following on from its laissez-faire attitude surrounding the growth of digital currency in the region, the PPF makes explicit mentions of bitcoin and virtual currencies.
Out of three main “activities” identified by the MAS, which will form the backbone of the latest legislation, virtual currencies “such as Bitcoin” are referred to as “anonymous instruments.”
Businesses dealing in bitcoin will be deemed to be “Providing Money Transmission and Conversion Services.”
“It is likely that under the PPF, virtual currency intermediaries which buy, sell, or facilitate the exchange of virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, will also be considered to undertake [this activity],” it states.
“MAS does not intend to regulate businesses that accept payment instruments from customers on their own behalf, such as shops, restaurants, and travel agents,” the paper adds.
Singapore continues to hit the headlines in Bitcoin circles, with local startup Coda Pay recently receiving a $2 million investment from several investors for further Asian expansion.
The banking sector has also signalled major activity regarding blockchain technology, with United Overseas Bank mentoring a blockchain-based smart contract project this month.
In July, Singapore-based venture capital outfit Life.Sreda announced it was co-hosting a $100 million “Blockchain Fund.” Headquartered in London, the fund seeks to enable smaller European financial institutions to get access to blockchain technology.
What do you think about the Singapore regulator’s latest proposals? Let us know in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of MAS, Wikimedia Commons.
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