Singapore has granted a few crypto firms an exemption from holding an operating license, under the Payment Services Act (PSA). According to an announcement from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Ripple, Binance, and Coinbase are free to offer their services in the country without a license for a defined amount of time.
The recent announcement specifies that the local branches of these crypto heavy-hitters do not have to comply with this part of the regulation until July 28, 2020. The announcement also suggests that the period allows them to submit applications for licenses, which should have been done by the said date.
The MAS’ list of exemptions also includes other crypto firms such as Bitcoin (BTC) payment processor BitGo, decentralized crypto sales firm Pundi X, crypto exchange OKCoin, exchange and custody firm Gemini Trust, and Cumberland. While the others had 6-month exemptions, BitGo and Gemini Trust were exempted for 12 months. In addition, both companies can still offer account issuance, local money transfer services, and also receive cross-border payments for its customers until January 28, 2021.
Singapore adopted the PSA in January 2020. The Act contains specific rules that guide cryptocurrency activities in the company, especially for businesses that offer these services. When the Act was introduced, the MAS said it had some worry about the use of cryptocurrencies in the country because they could quite easily be used to perpetrate financial crimes such as money laundering, largely because of their anonymity.
The Act mandates all crypto payments service providers in the country to comply with anti-money-laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) requirements. Regardless, the MAS said at the time that it was not to stifle the crypto sector in the country. Rather, it specified that it was to encourage growth and innovation, simultaneously keeping risks to the barest minimum.