Singapore is now known popularly as the blockchain and crypto hub of Southeast Asia.
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The small island nation of Singapore consistently ranked as the world’s best place to do business, witnessed massive growth in the number of businesses using Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. A free-market economy, investor-friendly laws combined with high levels of education and internet penetration, are some reasons for Singapore’s conducive reputation.
According to InWara, Singapore is second only to the USA in terms of ICOs announced in 2018. We try and figure out why.
Conducive regulatory environment: Regulators are well-informed, transparent and are willing to experiment with the technology.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the central authority responsible for administering statutes pertaining to the financial sector, has taken several positive steps towards cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. The government is encouraging the adoption of these technologies and releasing a guide to digital token offerings. MAS has taken an open approach to categorize digital tokens, namely utility, payment and security tokens.
The openness and pragmatism of MAS are clear from its Managing Director Mr Ravi Menon’s Keynote speech, at the Global Blockchain Business Conference, Singapore where he mentions “Trust underpins all economic transactions. In the absence of direct trust among parties, the alternative is to rely on trusted central parties.” and “The key breakthrough of blockchain technology is its ability to establish trust in a decentralized system.”
Further, the Singaporean authorities encourage innovation by allowing open discussions on key issues by industry experts at events such as Singapore consensus 2018. The country welcomed visionaries, experts and entrepreneurs to discuss links that might form the future framework of the industry. In contrast to other regulatory authorities globally, Singapore is well informed and willing to bet on this new technology.
Other Asian countries, such as South Korea, still have several uncertainties looming as few regulatory or taxation laws have been implemented for the trading of cryptocurrencies. The Korean Won (KRW) was the most frequently used fiat currency second to the US dollar. Despite more than 10% of Bitcoin trades globally done in KRW during H2 2017, the South Korean Financial and Judiciary authorities still remain misaligned in creating a united regulatory framework.
China on the other extreme, in 2017, banned all ICOs and cryptocurrency exchange platforms from operating within the country. This move forced many players to move out of the country to more favorable locations. However, China encourages the development and application of blockchain technology to improve the economy.
InWara’s data suggests, in comparison to the USA there are significantly fewer ICO sale regulations in Singapore. This paves the way for entrepreneurs and investors to better pursue their company goals.
There are many crypto exchanges with large trading volumes, have set up their Singapore division, this is mainly due to the aforementioned positive steps were taken by MAS towards cryptocurrency regulation. Upbit Singapore and Binance Singapore are some examples of this. Binance even plans on integrating fiat pairing with the Singapore dollar in early September of 2018.
Singapore an ICO haven?
Singapore with its free market economy, stable socio-political environment, attractive tax framework is also one of the fastest growing in Asia. This coupled with ease of doing business, makes it a great platform for founders including the teams that launch their ICOs.
Its hence, easier for blockchain and crypto teams from different countries to start a company in Singapore and still have a global competitive edge.