Singapore blockchain and crypto industry body announces new Code of Practice

  • Facilitated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and developed in consultation with The Association of Banks in Singapore, the Code of Practice provides practical regulatory guidance to cover new types of digital payments activities
  • Points global and local digital payment service providers in the right direction to successfully obtain their operating licences
  • Aims to drive a more robust digital economy and promote confidence in the use of e-payments
  • In line with the introduction of the FATF Travel Rule that calls on the digital asset industry globally to step up on regulatory compliance

SINGAPORE, 13 August 2020 – The Association of Cryptocurrency Enterprises and Start-ups, Singapore (ACCESS) has officially launched a Code of Practice for the industry, as part of its wider Standardisation of Practice In Crypto Entities (SPICE) initiative, according to a press statement.

Facilitated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and developed in consultation with The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), the Code of Practice is a ground-up collaborative effort by the industry to develop a set of guidance to help digital asset players strengthen regulatory compliance and enhance conduct. This will further cement Singapore’s reputation as a leading jurisdiction in the blockchain and fintech space. For industry players who are looking to apply for a payment service licence, the Code of Practice and its accompanying practice guide provide regulatory guidance to facilitate their licence application.

Under the Payment Services Act, which came into effect in January 2020, all service providers in Singapore are required to apply for an operating licence to provide specified payment services, including digital payments and trading of digital tokens.

The Code of Practice standardises the approach to tackling money laundering and terrorism financing,  Know-Your-Customer (KYC) best practices, as well as other key issues relevant to crypto-asset and blockchain companies – all of which are key considerations for the licensing and regulation of digital payment service providers in Singapore.

In line with the introduction of the FATF Travel Rule that calls on the digital asset industry globally to step up on regulatory compliance, the Code of Practice, which took two years to develop, considered feedback from last year’s public consultation, as well as the requirements and licensing guidelines imposed under the Payment Services Act.

Mr Anson Zeall, Chairman of ACCESS, said, “The Code of Practice aims to be an industry standard to ensure that crypto-firms have put in place sufficiently robust AML and CFT measures while taking into account their risk assessments. Along with the accompanying practice guide, it provides practical regulatory guidance to new types of payments activities such as e-wallets and cryptocurrency exchanges. Through this initiative, we hope to point both global and local digital payment service providers in the right direction to successfully obtain their operating licenses and expand their presence in Singapore. Ultimately, we would like to drive a more robust digital economy and promote confidence in the use of e-payments.”

Mr Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer of MAS, said, “Blockchain and other digital technologies have the potential to transform the payments services landscape by making payments faster, cheaper, and more convenient. The challenge for MAS and other financial regulators is to ensure that the risks these new technologies pose are well-managed, while allowing innovation to continue to flourish. In this regard, we are pleased that ACCESS has successfully launched the Code of Practice following close industry collaboration and public consultation. This ground-up Code of Practice will be a useful guide for cryptocurrency industry players and the broader industry to better address key risks such as money laundering and terrorism financing, and to strengthen regulatory compliance.”

“We are honoured to have worked with ACCESS on the Code of Practice from a legal and strategic perspective since its initiation. New technologies have dramatically altered the financial landscape, and digital currencies are now a powerful payment method, with growing global acceptance. The launch of the Code of Practice is timely and marks a significant step forward in Singapore’s digital economy. It is the first of its kind – being the result of wide-ranging industry collaboration, which provides well-defined guidance focussed on AML and CFT requirements. It allows digital asset players to operate and expand while being fully compliant with Singapore law,” added Ms Peiying Chua, financial regulation partner, Linklaters – the appointed law firm to advise on this inaugural industry-changing initiative.

Given the dynamic nature of the industry, the Code of Practice is expected to evolve over time in a collaborative manner. It will be updated from time to time to ensure continued relevance to practitioners, and to take into account new legislation and guidelines.

To fund the ongoing costs, the Code of Practice is available for download to all ACCESS members at a preferential fee and to non-members at a listed fee.

Copyright 2020 @ ACCESS

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