The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued a notice last Thursday announcing its intention to regulate virtual currencies in order to manage AML/CTF risks:
2 Virtual currency transactions, given their anonymous nature, are particularly vulnerable to ML/TF risks. To address this, MAS will introduce regulations to require virtual currency intermediaries1 that buy, sell or facilitate the exchange of virtual currencies for real currencies to verify the identities of their customers and report suspicious transactions to the Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office.2 The requirements will be similar to those imposed on money changers and remittance businesses who undertake cash transactions.
3 Singapore, like most jurisdictions, does not regulate virtual currencies per se, as these are not considered as securities or legal tender. MAS’ regulation of virtual currency intermediaries pertains specifically to the money laundering and terrorist financing risks they pose. It does not extend to the safety and soundness of virtual currency intermediaries nor the proper functioning of virtual currency transactions. Investors in virtual currencies will not have the safeguards that investors in securities enjoy under the Securities and Futures Act and the Financial Advisers Act.
MAS' approach is similar to that of FinCEN and more measured than the banning of Bitcoin and its ilk in a number of other countries, including Thailand, Germany and China.
Categories: Anti-Money Laundering MAS Updates Virtual Currencies
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