Singapore’s Regulator Puts Foot Down on ICOs

Singapore’s Regulator Puts Foot Down on ICOs

After establishing itself as one of the world’s friendliest jurisdictions for ICOs and cryptocurrencies, the city state’s authorities have now taken a stand against several operators.

On Thursday, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said they had ordered one ICO to halt a token sale, and warned eight exchanges against allowing trading in digital tokens that are actually securities or futures contracts.

“No Registered ICOs”

The issue comes down to whether a token represents ownership in an entity or not. If a company wants to sell tokens representing ownership, they will need to register them as such with the MAS. The regulator said that to date, no ICO had registered a prospectus with it.

In the case of exchanges, if an exchange intends to facilitate trade in tokens that could be deemed to be securities or futures contracts, they would need to register themselves as securities exchanges.

These warnings bring Singapore’s stance in line with many other government regulators, including the US SEC and Australia’s ASIC. The moves may have come in response to criticism from some in the media who felt the MAS was not doing enough to protect investors.

In a reply to an article published in the Straits Times, the Director of Corporate Communications at MAS, Jerome Lee, pointed out that MAS had published several warnings to investors participating in ICOs. He also reiterated that the MAS would take action against anyone contravening Singapore’s securities laws or anti-money laundering directives.

The warnings also coincide with the publication of a consultation paper proposing to expand the existing recognised market operators (RMOs) regime to include peer-to-peer (p2p) and blockchain-based platforms.