Grab, Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup, is exploring a move into Singapore banking as regulators in the Southeast Asian city-state consider allowing online-only banks, four people with knowledge of the process told Reuters.The app is close to hiring a consultancy to advise it and is gearing up to apply for a digital-only bank license in Singapore if the local banking regulator decides to open up the sector, said the people.The Monetary Authority of Singapore could make a decision in the next couple of months on whether to admit what it calls “digital-only banks with non-bank parentage,” as well as on eligibility for potential applicants, the people said.
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Central banks in Canada and Singapore claim to have successfully completed a cross-border payment using distributed ledger technology.The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced earlier today that it has successfully settled an international payment with The Bank of Canada, in what it refers to as “Project Jasper-Ubin.”The project’s technology was developed with assistance from management consulting firm Accenture and American bank JP Morgan.The announcement didn’t disclose the total value of the transaction.Both banks have been experimenting with their own proprietary digital coins and distributed ledgers which they linked up using what it calls “hashed time-locked contracts,” the announcement reads.Put otherwise, these contracts ensure all payments happen at the right time and in the correct order.
Two men were charged in Singapore today for promoting a cryptocurrency-based multi-level marketing scheme.Local police believe this is the first case of its kind in the country.The perpetrators in question had been promoting the notorious multi-billion dollar pyramid scheme OneCoin, Channel News Asia reports.One of the men was also charged with running a company called One Concept Pte Ltd set up to promote the scheme.Singapore residents that took part in the scheme were sold educational courses and promotional tokens.The scammers claimed the tokens could then be redeemed to “mine” OneCoin.
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Hg Exchange announced today that it seeks to launch Southeast Asia’s first member-driven exchange to support the issuance and trading of private company shares, including security tokens.Hg Exchange has submitted a fintech regulatory sandbox application to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).The industry-backed effort promotes transparency by sharing transaction data amongst market makers and private companies, creating efficiencies for the general market.For investors, this brings unparalleled access to invest into high-growth companies such as Airbnb, Deliveroo, Didi Chuxing, Go-Jek, Grab, Pinterest, SpaceX, and Uber.The exchange is intended to give accredited investors in Singapore better access to buy shares in privately held, high-growth companies.Phillip Securities, PrimePartners, RHT Capital, and Fundnel have signed on to become the private exchange’s first four members.
Digital insurance firm Singapore Life has started 2019 with a bang after it raised $33 million across two investments as it eyes new market expansions in Southeast Asia.The company pulled in $20 million from NYSE-listed Aflac Investment on December 31 and then it added a further $13 million this week via an investment from Aberdeen Standard Investments, a Scotland-based asset management firm with 50 offices worldwide.These deals take the company to $97 million to date, which included a massive $50 million Series A last year.Singapore Life was started in 2014 by Walter de Oude, who left HSBC after seven years in charge of its insurance business in Singapore.The firm secured a license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore in 2017.It went live later that year and then gathered steam through the acquisition of Zurich Life Singapore’s business portfolio.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore has launched a US$22 million (S$30 million) Cybersecurity Capabilities Grant under the country’s Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme.The grant will co-fund up to 50 percent of qualifying expenses, capped at US$2.2 million (S$3 million).The new allocation will be used to strengthen the cyber-resilience of Singapore’s financial sector via the development of advanced cybersecurity functions.These include security operations, cyberthreat surveillance and intelligence gathering, computer forensics, malware research and analysis, and cyberthreat hunting.It will also be used to support financial institutions to upskill local talent through cybersecurity-related training programs.
UK fintech unicorn Revolut will launch its digital “banking alternative” in Singapore and Japan in the first quarter of next year after obtaining the requisite licenses to operate in the two countries, it said.The startup provides a range of online financial services including an app-based current account, a multi-currency, fee-free mobile wallet allowing for domestic and international transfers, and cryptocurrency exchange.It also offers a physical prepaid card, from either Visa or Mastercard depending on the user’s location, that is linked to the app.Payments can be instantly recorded, viewed, and managed in-app – the idea being that users can better plan their finances.The Monetary Authority of Singapore has granted Revolut a remittance license in addition to stored value facility approval, which is effectively an e-money license.Japan’s Financial Services Agency has given the startup a fund transfer license.
After securing a pre-series A round led by Beenext, Wallex Technologies is announcing its entry into Indonesia.The Singapore-based startup has obtained a remittance license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore and a money transfer license from Bank Indonesia.Wallex Indonesia has created an easy-to-use online dashboard that enables users to view and lock-in rates, create payment instructions, and upload relevant documents.The Singapore-based startup, which focuses on small to-medium-sized enterprises, says that a majority of its Indonesian customers come from the import sector.Wallex also caters to users who make cross-border payments such as school fees.(And yes, we’re serious about ethics and transparency.
The Singapore Exchange (SGX) and Heliconia Capital Management, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore state fund Temasek, have invested in iStox, a platform for issuing and trading blockchain security tokens.The sum of the investment was not disclosed.IStox will launch once the company behind it, ICHX Tech, obtains a license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore as a “recognized market operator.”Blockchain tokens are a form of virtual currency issued to the public.They fall under two camps.Security tokens give buyers ownership of the company that issued it and are regulated by the Singapore government.
Singapore’s financial regulator has revealed it will help local cryptocurrency firms set up traditional bank accounts, to help boost the country’s fintech economy.“What we are trying to do is to bring the banks and cryptocurrency fintech startups together to see if there is some understanding they can reach,” Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director Ravi Menon told Bloomberg.Before you go moving to Singapore to set up your new blockchain-based firm in search of crypto-riches, Menon also made it clear that this help will only be for local Singaporean businesses.“We should not be trying to create an extremely lax regulatory environment in order to attract that kind of business,” he added.It appears that crypto-based Singaporean businesses have been struggling to grow as banks continue to deny or close their accounts.Specific details of how the Singaporean regulator will mediate relationships between banks and startups have not yet been disclosed.
Singapore’s financial regulator is willing to lend a hand to cryptocurrency firms having problems setting up local bank accounts, but doesn’t plan to loosen its rules to lure more crypto startups to the country.“The nature of this business is a bit different, so banks may need to employ other ways in which they can establish bona fide,” Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) managing director Ravi Menon said.MAS is looking to bring banks and crypto startups together “to see if there is some understanding they can reach.” Local crypto firms have complained about local banks closing their bank accounts, rendering their businesses inoperable.One example is Coinhako, which had a bank account with DBS, one of Singapore’s largest banks.Advocacy group Singapore’s Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Industry Association (Access) says that over 10 startups have problems maintaining bank accounts with Singapore’s financial institutions.
While there have been a few announcements from companies, some of the most interesting updates have come from regulators, and specifically, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).For those who are unfamiliar, Singapore historically has been a financial hub in Southeast Asia, but now has also gradually become the crypto hub of Asia.While regulatory uncertainties still loom over Korea and Japan, in Southeast Asia, the MAS has already released its opinion “A Guide to Digital Token Offering” that illustrates the application of securities laws to digital token offerings and issuances.Nonetheless, for any Western or foreign company looking to establish a footing in Asia, or even for any local company in any Asian country looking to establish a presence outside of their own country, Singapore should be the first stop.It has become the go-to crypto sandbox of Asia.The Tada app is built on MVL’s blockchain ecosystem, which is specifically designed to serve the automotive industry, adjacent service industries, and their customers.
Just days after crowdfunding firm FundedHere unveiled FundedX, its planned private stock exchange for startups, it’s putting the brakes on the project.FundedHere had earlier indicated it “obtained prior regulatory approval” from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in the form of a capital markets service (CMS) license, which it said allowed it “to deal with securities.”But the company today said it is “factually incorrect” to state that FundedX can operate as an exchange under the CMS license and it needs to get a different license.In an emailed statement, FundedHere said that FundedX will need to be authorized as either an “approved exchange” or a “recognized market operator” (RMO) by MAS before it can begin operating.It also retracted an earlier statement where it blamed the media for using “misleading” terms such “private stock exchange” and “bourse” in their coverage of FundedX’s launch.It claimed in that earlier statement that FundedX is “merely” a “matching platform” where buyers and sellers can register their interest to buy or sell company stock ad hoc at pre-determined prices, as opposed to a securities exchange, which runs continuous trading.
In late May, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued a warning to eight digital token exchanges, prohibiting them from trading digital tokens that are securities or futures contracts without approval.These crypto exchanges commonly allow the buying and selling of digital tokens using fiat currency and also facilitate the swapping of digital tokens between users.MAS ordered one issuer to stop selling its digital tokens because it launched an initial coin offering (ICO) without a registered prospectus, which is a requirement for securities-related products.But experts interviewed by Tech in Asia said that there’s no need for crypto companies in Singapore to panic, as the announcements are just a part of the central bank’s push to refine regulation.“These announcements are not a tightening but rather a wake-up call to token providers and exchanges that may not be taking the current regulations on digital token offerings seriously enough,” explained Paul Griffin, director of Singapore Management University’s Masters of IT in Business program.MAS also wants to “send a message out to token providers to ensure that Singapore remains a safe place to do any form of business,” he continued.
The round was led by AIA Company – part of Hong Kong-listed AIA Group – NWS Holdings, and several other undisclosed investors.Supported by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and other financial institutions, CCRManager plans to use the money to expand its international network and enhance its product’s capabilities.The startup connects more than one million students a month to over 10,000 academic institutions in the Philippines and overseas.Bytedance founder Zhang Yiming and Pony Ma, CEO of WeChat parent Tencent, had a short but public dispute on WeChat Moments.The online food-delivery company’s board has approved its first employee stock repurchase program, said sources close to the matter.Although it confirmed the buyback, Swiggy didn’t disclose the program’s size or which employees are eligible for it.
A new cryptocurrency exchange set to be launched in Singapore has raised US$1 million in seed capital from Australia’s Fatfish Internet Group.Kryptos-X was founded by Tony Mackay, the Australian entrepreneur behind Chi-X Global, a network of alternative stock trading platforms.Mackay and his team have chosen to situate the startup in Singapore as they consider it “a well-regulated environment” with scope for additional players to enter the market, according to a press release.Coinhako and FYB-SG are among the Singapore-based companies currently operating cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, while a number of others – such as Luno and Quoine – also have a local presence.Several foreign players, including Coinbase, are also accessible to Singaporeans.The electronic marketplace… will not need to be regulated in accordance with the policy of MAS.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has published a paper offering “general guidance” on the regulation of digital token sales – otherwise known as initial coin offerings (ICOs).Digital tokens that MAS determines to have characteristics of capital market products will fall under the purview of Singapore’s Securities and Futures Act (SFA).These products include securities such as equity shares, debt instruments, and units in a collective investment scheme (CIS) where different investors pool their money into a portfolio.Published yesterday, the paper follows the central bank’s August statement clarifying its regulatory stance on ICOs.The paper reiterates what MAS indicated in that earlier policy note, where it said that some digital tokens issued in ICOs possess the characteristics of security holdings in the businesses making the offering.As such, organizations issuing tokens that MAS considers to be akin to capital markets products must publish a regulation-compliant investment prospectus and register it with the central bank.
Today’s announcements at the second annual Fintech Festival aim to show it’s still keeping up just fine: a US$20 million grant for artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics projects, a dedicated fintech hub in the middle of Singapore’s business district, new cyber security and cross-border payments initiatives are some of the ways MAS is making Singapore’s finance industry tech-ready.MAS managing director Ravi Menon took the stage on Tuesday to reflect on the state of fintech.In Singapore, more than 400 fintech startups have set up shop.And finance execs can now “carry on an intelligent conversation about blockchains without looking at their notes – this is a big change from just two years ago,” Menon said.Part of the US$165 million Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme, the grant is meant to support the adoption and integration of AI and data analytics systems in financial institutions as well as training personnel in these areas.The scheme has already funded fintech startups like SoCash.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has appointed its first-ever “chief cyber security officer” (CCSO) to take the lead on strengthening its resilience against cyber attacks and other online security issues.Tan Yeow Seng – who has worked at MAS since 1998 – will take up the newly created position while continuing in his existing role as executive director for technology risk and payments.MAS said in a statement that Tan’s responsibilities as CCSO will include “setting cyber resiliency standards and overseeing their implementation,” both within MAS and in Singapore’s wider financial services industry.Cyber security has become a central theme in Singapore’s tech ecosystem of late, as global concerns grow over the vulnerability of online assets.Telco Singtel launched its Cyber Security Institue last year, while the National Research Foundation recently announced it will dispense US$12 million to companies and research institutions to help them develop and deploy cyber security technologies.The government also has a new cyber security law in the works which, among other things, could lead to the introduction of a licensing framework for cyber security professionals.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) – the country’s central bank – today revealed a streamlined framework for the regulation of VC fund managers.The relaxed requirements for managing VC funds are intended to make it easier for startups to access growth capital.The revised rules largely reflect proposals put forward by MAS alongside a public consultation earlier this year, after the Singaporean government’s Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) recommended that VC regulation be simplified in order to encourage more investment into the country.Previously, VC fund managers have been treated similarly to managers of other types of investment fund – with the authorization process for new fund managers sometimes taking up to 12 months.After the CFE published its report back in February, MAS noted that VC investment activities are substantially different from other fund types, since they exclusively invest in unlisted companies that are usually less than five years old, and do not accept new subscriptions after the close of a fund.Moreover, it is typically only accredited and institutional investors that are able to participate in VC funding activities.
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