Analysis

A number of cryptocurrency firms have been exempted from holding a payments license in Singapore till this summer.

An extensive list of companies posted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) includes well-known exchanges and custodians such as Binance, Coinbase, Ripple and BitGo, with all being allowed to continue operating without a payments license until July 28, 2020.

The exemption will end after that date, or if firms registered in Singapore submit a license application under the Payments Services Act 2019, or are approved or rejected for a license by MAS.

Under the act, all financial entities conducting payments are required to hold a license for specific payment services in Singapore, a rule aimed to ensure regulatory certainty and consumer safety. Parliament passed an amendment on 14 January 2019 bringing crypto, or Digital Payment Token services, under the same legislation.

The tougher anti-money laundering compliance regime facing firms as a result has already led to one firm shutting up shop. Cryptocurrency payments provider Coinpip said it was suspending operations on March 13 while it considered applying for the new license.

Crypto firms already working in Singapore are required to first register with MAS, then apply for a license to operate. A failure to notify MAS is a breach of the requirements and will mean such firms would lose any exemption, according to the new announcement.

The authority notes that the firms on the list are not licensed, but have notified of their operations.

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