Bitcoin Progress Report: Fast Growth in Singapore

Journalist:
Evander Smart @EvanderSmart
March 16, 2015

It is a nation-state and major city all in one. Kind of like if New York City seceded from the U.S. and became the country of New York. The country has about 5.5 million people, of which 40% are foreign born, also a lot like New York. English is one of the four main languages of Singapore, again just like New York, and it is positioned on an active river at a key geographic location for trade, like New York.

It is about 9000 miles from New York, which means it is literally on the other side of the world. Until 2013, the longest non-stop plane flight in the world was from Newark, NJ to Singapore, and the fastest way there was to fly over the North Pole for the eighteen and a half hour flight. The flight was so long that if someone died on the flight, they had lockers set up to quarantine the corpse. So we have covered the active and tumultuous Bitcoin market in New York. Now let’s look at Asia’s version of The Big Apple.

Singapore seems ready for a future with Bitcoin

Areas like mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore seem to be picking up on Bitcoin much faster than most markets outside of the United States. Great Britain is not as accommodating or astute in Bitcoin as Singapore has become. Local businesses like Tembusu Systems have grown from being an early Bitcoin ATM provider in 2013 to a full-service provider that helps corporations in the area integrate digital currency in many ways. BraveNewCoin spoke to Tembusu COO Jarrod Luo about the rapid progress in the Singapore market:

“From what we can see it is aimed at trying to include crypto-currency-based instruments into the existing financial and taxation system,” says Lou. “I think that this sends a message that there is potentially a ‘mainstream’ role for crypto-currencies. It shows that the government has a deeper understanding of the true potential for the technology and a sense of the early stage it is in,” says Lou. “It is very rational and well-informed.”

Growth has been so swift that the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) introduced a new set of tax guidelines for businesses choosing to use Bitcoin and other digital currencies last month. Businesses that buy or sell goods or services using digital currencies are required to record sales based on the market value of the digital currency at the time. Businesses that trade digital currencies will be taxed on any profit received, including miners and exchanges.

“Businesses that choose to accept virtual currencies such as Bitcoins for their remuneration or revenue are subject to normal income tax rules,” states the IRAS. “They will be taxed on the income derived from or received in Singapore. Tax deductions will be allowed, where permissible, under our tax laws.”

Sounds very American, but there is one very special difference. Unlike in the West, businesses that buy for long term crypto-currency investment will enjoy tax-free capital gains on any profits made from the sale of digital currencies. The IRAS applies no capital gains taxes in Singapore. This indicates a very friendly regulatory long-term interest in Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Luo believes that a country that understands Bitcoin more will have a much friendlier stance towards it.

“An outright ban on crypto-currencies or BTC is often reflective of a lack of knowledge about how the technology works, or else there are often other unspoken reasons for a ban. If you look at other countries, you will also see that there are differences in how crypto-currencies are defined, let alone how they are regulated.”

BTW, the recent MyCoin scam was in Hong Kong, not Singapore, and that turned out to be closer to $8 million lost in updated reports, not the almost $400 million reported early on.

If you are a future ex-pat, Singapore has an excellent reputation as a nation that is friendly to immigrants, speaks English, and now also speaks Bitcoin. With strong infrastructure, medical facilities and high economic development, many places around the world could learn from Singapore how to become an international business and cultural hub. If you believe Bitcoin has a future in the world of money, Singapore looks more than ready to join it there.

Ever been to Singapore, or known someone who has been? Share above and comment below.

Last modified (UTC): October 9, 2019 13:30

Tags: singapore
Evander Smart @EvanderSmart

Evander Smart wants to get you talking, get you thinking, get you learning about Bitcoin, "The Future of Money". He has two Bitcoin video training courses on Udemy.com called "Bitcoin for Beginners". Go to EvanderSmart.com to get the latest on Evander and the latest Bitcoin news.