ICO News: Singapore to Keep an Open Mind on Cryptocurrencies

on Oct 25, 2017

Singapore’s lack of regulation surrounding cryptocurrencies has made the country an appealing place for startups to do upcoming ICOs. And central bankers in the country don’t seem to have regulation as a top priority  The position of monetary policymakers is to keep an open mind about cryptocurrencies even as major ICO deals unfold in the region. 

Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director Ravi Menon told Bloomberg that while the country isn’t interested in regulating cryptocurrencies, they will monitor activity tied to the space for any fraudulent activity such as money laundering. The central bank is essentially taking a step back and assessing which of the risks tied to the category including upcoming ICOs warrant a response from regulators. This is a methodical approach compared to that of other central banks, not the least of which include China, South Korea and Russia to some extent.

Menon does not care for the hype surrounding the value of bitcoin and ether and instead is interested in the real-world applications for the blockchain and cryptocurrencies. For instance, cross-border intra-bank payments that would remove much of the friction in these transactions, making them less pricey and speedier. This could benefit migrant workers who are looking to send funds to villagers, he explained.  

Similar to the United States and Canada, Menon said policymakers need to judge each upcoming ICO on a case-by-case basis to determine which deals require oversight. If an upcoming ICO is structured to provide income distributions via dividends, it would likely fall under the country’s securities act. 

Upcoming Singaporean ICO

Singapore has been an ICO-friendly country, with some of the biggest deals to date happening in the country. In June, blockchain startup TenX attracted nearly USD 80 million to its coffers with the sale of its PAY tokens. This deal was comprised of 4,000 participants and the tokens were sold out in less than 10 minutes. 

The pipeline for upcoming ICOs isn’t empty. Singapore-based Lattice80, a hub for fintech startups, is planning its token sale for 2018. They’re looking to expand into major cities around the world and say they will only consider regulated environments. They are looking to “institutionalize” what the startup dubs cryptoeconomics.