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FUND MANAGEMENT

Starting a Crypto Investment Business in Singapore: How to Get a Licence

March 2022

Veli Kattoulas

Do you need a licence for your Crypto business in Singapore?

The euphoria and interest surrounding cryptocurrency — bitcoin being the most popular — as a means of investment is rising. This is supported by the fact that 93% of Singaporeans have heard the term “cryptocurrency.” Meanwhile, 66% of young people own cryptocurrency in their portfolio and plan to buy more. Therefore, Singapore’s cryptocurrency and Digital Payment Tokens (DPTs) space has huge growth potential.

Many are interested in cryptocurrencies due to the enormous potential gains. If you had invested US$1,000 in Dogecoin in January 2021, you could have had over US$120,000 by May; that’s a 12,000% increase in four months. In that instance, the coin market seems wildly attractive compared to the stock market.

 

What is a DPT service?

A DPT service provider is defined as a business that provides exchange services or a platform for selling or buying cryptocurrencies. There is a need for a DPT service provider to accommodate Singaporeans’ evolving financial and investment needs.

 

How to apply for a licence?

To open a DPT service and operate in Singapore, you must incorporate with ACRA and obtain a licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). You need to fulfil a few requirements to obtain the licence. These requirements are Singapore’s efforts to minimise the possibility of money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (ML/CFT) in the nation.

You need to implement policies that comply and are adequate to diminish the chances of your business being used for money laundering or terrorism activities. Once you feel that your policies are sufficient, you should reach out to MAS to assess your company. MAS will assess these seven areas:

  1. Risk assessment and risk mitigation

  2. Customer due diligence (CDD).

  3. Reliance on third parties

  4. Correspondent accounts and wire transfers

  5. Record-keeping

  6. Suspicious transaction reporting.

  7. Internal policies, compliance, audit and training

For an in-depth explanation, you can read the official document here


Three types of licence

 

1. Money-changing licence

This licence is for those who only conduct money-changing services, the service of buying and selling foreign currency notes. Individuals and corporations can obtain it, whether locally or foreignly owned. The licence fee costs S$1,500 annually. 

 

2. Standard payment institution licence

This licence is issued to companies with approximately S$3 million in monthly transactions for any payment service, aside from e-money account issuance and money-changing services. Moreover, they need to have an estimated S$5 million in daily outstanding e-money. The licence fee costs S$5,000 annually.

3. Major payment institution licence

This licence is issued to companies with more than S$3 million in monthly transactions for any payment service, aside from e-money account issuance and money-changing services. Additionally, they need to have exceeded S$5 million in daily outstanding e-money. The licence fee costs S$10,000 annually.


As technology becomes more sophisticated and ingrained in our daily lives, cryptocurrency and DPTs are not likely to fade away for the foreseeable future. No wonder businesses are eager to enter the space. We hope that this article can serve as a guide to help you in establishing a DTP service provider in Singapore.

Still need help on this topic? Read our comprehensive guide on crypto investments in Singapore or learn about the risks of crypto investments on this post. You may also check this post on how to be an accredited investor.

Need help incorporating your business or wondering how to get your digital token licence? Lanturn can help.

Contact us now!

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