The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced that it would regulate the issuance of digital tokens or initial coin offerings (ICOs) and that they could fall under the Securities and Futures Act.
The country’s central bank’s decision to clarify its position regarding ICOs comes at a time when Singapore is experiencing an increase in the number of token sales as a means of rising funds. It also follows closely behind the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) stance that ICOs must be regulated.
In an announcement MAS said:
MAS’ position of not regulating virtual currencies is similar to that of most jurisdictions. However, MAS has observed that the function of digital tokens has evolved beyond just being a virtual currency. For example, digital tokens may represent ownership or a security interest over an issuer’s assets or property. Such tokens may therefore be considered an offer of shares or units in a collective investment scheme under the SFA. Digital tokens may also represent a debt owed by an issuer and be considered a debenture under the SFA.
MAS further noted that should a digital token full under the definition of securities with the SFA, the issuers of the tokens would first need to lodge and register a ‘prospectus with MAS prior to the offer of such tokens, unless exempted.’
Mr David Lee, Professor of Fintech and Blockchain at Singapore University of Social Sciences, said to Today Online:
It is a timely reminder for those dealing with digital tokens not to allow for the possibility of money laundering and terrorist financing.
With global ICOs generating around $1.3 billion in the first six months of 2017 they are helping to solve a lot of problems within the startup scene; however, as Lee states there are still scams taking place among them.
Unless the public understand the technology or complexity, they should not be involved with initial coin offerings, token sales or cryptocurrency.
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