Singapore AGC Launches Tech and Crypto Crime Task Forces

In response to the evolving landscape of technology-enabled crimes, Singapore’s Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has officially established two specialized task forces this year, according to Lianhe Zaobao. Comprising approximately 20 prosecutors, these units aim to tackle challenges posed by technological advancements in criminal activities.

Two Types of Tech Crimes

Wang Shouren, Deputy Chief Prosecutor of the AGC, stated in an interview with Lianhe Zaobao that technology-enabled crimes mainly fall into two categories. The first involves crimes directly related to technology, such as hacking into computer systems. The second category consists of technology-facilitated crimes, which are traditional crimes aided by technology, like digital forgery, online harassment, and fraud.

Specialized Task Forces

The AGC began focusing on this criminal trend since the late 1990s and has now formally established two task forces: the Technology Crime Task Force and the Cryptocurrency Task Force. The former deals with computer or technology-assisted crimes and handles digital evidence, while the latter focuses on issues arising from cryptocurrencies as assets, including assisting the Singapore Police Force in tracking and handling such assets.

Training and Collaboration

All prosecutors are required to undergo basic training in technology crimes and digital evidence. The task force members also collaborate with relevant government agencies like the Criminal Investigation Department and the Commercial Affairs Department, and even receive specialized training abroad. Wang Shouren added, “We also maintain contact with large tech companies and social media firms, as tackling cybercrime and addressing challenges brought by technological advancements require close cooperation between the public and private sectors.”

Cross-Border Cooperation

Wang cited a recent case involving a local man in Singapore who committed identity fraud in the United States, defrauding hundreds of thousands of dollars. The case highlighted the importance of international cooperation in law enforcement, especially when criminals operate across borders.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / / /

GSR Secures Major Payment Institution Licence from Singapore’s MAS

GSR Markets Pte. Ltd., the Singaporean subsidiary of global cryptocurrency trading firm GSR, has received In-Principle Approval for a Major Payment Institution licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Announced on October 2, 2023, this regulatory milestone is a significant advancement in GSR’s journey to become a fully licensed entity. The approval allows GSR to better serve the cryptocurrency community in both Singapore and the broader Asia-Pacific region, reinforcing its commitment to compliance and governance in the rapidly evolving digital asset space.

The In-Principle Approval for GSR comes just a day after Coinbase Singapore revealed that it had secured a full Major Payment Institution licence from MAS. This follows earlier announcements from Circle,, and, who also obtained MPI licenses earlier this year. The series of approvals from MAS highlights the competitive yet regulated landscape of the cryptocurrency market in Singapore, a jurisdiction that is increasingly becoming a hotspot for blockchain and crypto enterprises.

Jakob Palmstierna, CEO of the GSR Group, expressed his gratitude towards MAS for their constructive oversight. He stated, “We are immensely grateful to MAS for their constructive oversight, which helps shape a growing digital asset ecosystem that we feel proud to be a substantial part of.” Xin Song, the Group’s COO, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing that the In-Principle Approval enables GSR to “deepen our local client partnerships, and continue in our critical role as a liquidity provider within the ecosystem.”

Singapore has been making strides in establishing itself as a significant player in the crypto and Web3 space. According to recent surveys, 25% of Singaporeans view cryptocurrency as the future of finance, and 32% are either current or past crypto owners. Furthermore, the city-state is home to over 700 Web3 companies, making it a pivotal market for the growth of the crypto and Web3 economy. GSR aims to capitalize on this burgeoning ecosystem by leveraging Singapore as a strategic hub for its Asia-Pacific operations.

The In-Principle Approval is more than just a regulatory milestone for GSR; it’s a testament to the firm’s commitment to adhering to high standards of compliance and governance. As GSR works diligently towards obtaining a full licence, it plans to expand its suite of services and deepen its relationships with institutional clients in the region. The firm remains committed to playing a critical role as a liquidity provider and aims to contribute meaningfully to Singapore’s growing digital asset ecosystem.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / / / / / / /

Circle Partners With Grab for Web3 Pilot in Singapore

Circle Internet Financial (Circle), a global fintech firm, is joining forces with Grab, Southeast Asia’s leading super app, to pilot Web3 customer experiences in Singapore. This collaboration will see the integration of Circle’s new Web 3 Services platform directly into the Grab app, marking a significant step in the adoption of blockchain technology in the region.

Dubbed the ‘Grab Web3 Wallet’, this feature will be available exclusively to Singapore-based users. It promises a seamless experience where users can establish a blockchain-enabled wallet, paving the way for them to earn unique rewards, collect digital collectibles, and utilize non-fungible token (NFT) vouchers. As a starting point, the Grab Web3 Wallet will support the SG Pitstop Pack NFT vouchers, which can be redeemed at select stores and experiences in Singapore, timed perfectly with the buzz of the upcoming F1 Singapore Grand Prix.

The significance of this pilot goes beyond just a partnership between two tech giants. It aligns squarely with the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) Project Orchid initiative. This initiative is a testament to Singapore’s commitment to exploring the potential of digital currencies and blockchain technology in real-world applications, aptly named Purpose Bound Money.

Jeremy Allaire, Co-founder and CEO of Circle, commented on the partnership, emphasizing its broader implications: “Circle is focused on partnering with global-scale consumer internet brands to bring everyday utility to users. Piloting our technology with Grab’s vast customer base brings us closer to realizing the full potential of responsible digital assets innovation.”

Circle’s Web3 Services are not just a new product offering. They represent a bridge between the current internet ecosystem (Web 2.0) and the emerging decentralized web (Web3). By facilitating the integration of stablecoins, digital assets, and smart contracts into consumer and enterprise applications, Circle is positioning itself as a leader in the transition to Web3.

Singapore has been a focal point for Circle in recent months. In June 2023, the company secured a Major Payment Institution (MPI) License from the MAS, reinforcing its commitment to the region. This was followed by the inauguration of its Singapore office in May. Earlier in the year, Circle made headlines by partnering with Tribe, Singapore’s first government-endorsed blockchain ecosystem developer. This collaboration aimed to foster and upscale the local Web3 developer talent, further solidifying Singapore’s position as a global hub for blockchain innovation.

In an era where digital transformation is more than just a buzzword, collaborations like these underscore the tangible shifts in the financial and tech landscapes. As Circle and Grab venture into this pilot, the eyes of the tech world will undoubtedly be watching, anticipating the ripple effects this could send across the industry.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / /

Singapore’s MAS Unveils Stablecoin Regulatory Framework

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has unveiled its finalized regulatory framework for stablecoins. This development follows a public consultation in October 2022 and a parliamentary inquiry on 20 March 2023 regarding MAS’ stance on cryptocurrency trading risks and stablecoin development. Senior Minister in charge of MAS, Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, emphasized the consultation papers’ intent to reduce consumer risks from cryptocurrency trading and ensure stablecoin value stability. The consultation period, which concluded on 21 December 2022, saw MAS receiving extensive feedback.

Stablecoins, as defined by MAS, are digital payment tokens that aim to maintain a consistent value against one or more specified fiat currencies. When properly regulated, these tokens can act as a reliable medium of exchange, especially for the “on-chain” purchase and sale of digital assets.

The new framework will be applicable to single-currency stablecoins (SCS) that are pegged to the Singapore Dollar or any G10 currency and are issued within Singapore. Key requirements for issuers of such SCS include:

Value Stability: SCS reserve assets will have specific requirements related to their composition, valuation, custody, and audit. This is to ensure a high degree of value stability.

Capital: Issuers are mandated to maintain a minimum base capital and liquid assets. This is to mitigate the risk of insolvency and facilitate an orderly cessation of operations if required.

Redemption at Par: Issuers are obligated to return the par value of SCS to holders within a five-day window from a redemption request.

Disclosure: Issuers must offer transparent disclosures to users. This includes details on the SCS’s value stabilizing mechanism, rights of SCS holders, and the audit outcomes of reserve assets.

Furthermore, only those stablecoin issuers that meet all the stipulated requirements can apply to MAS for their stablecoins to be officially recognized and branded as “MAS-regulated stablecoins”. This distinction will help users differentiate between MAS-regulated stablecoins and other digital payment tokens.

Any misrepresentation of a token as an “MAS-regulated stablecoin” could result in penalties, which might range from financial fines to imprisonment for individuals. Such entities or individuals may also be added to MAS’ Investor Alert List. MAS advises users to be well-informed of the risks when dealing with stablecoins that fall outside of their regulatory purview.

Ms. Ho Hern Shin, Deputy Managing Director (Financial Supervision) at MAS, commented on the framework’s objectives, stating that it is designed to “facilitate the use of stablecoins as a credible digital medium of exchange, and as a bridge between the fiat and digital asset ecosystems.”

Globally, there’s a discernible trend towards stricter regulations for cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.

The Taiwan Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) has drafted guidelines to oversee virtual asset platforms. Although not yet finalized, the draft encompasses thirteen principles, accompanied by relevant appendices. These guidelines are anticipated to be publicized in September 2023.

Meanwhile, officials in Hong Kong have expressed their commitment to implementing stablecoin regulations by 2024 and are concurrently reviewing rules pertaining to crypto derivatives

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / / Obtains Digital Payment Token License in Singapore

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has granted a Major Payment Institution License (MPI) to the popular cryptocurrency exchange With this license, the platform will be able to provide digital payment token services to institutional and accredited investors. On August 7, 2023, it was disclosed that the application had been approved, and on August 1, 2023, the license was issued.

The license comes after received in-principle approval from MAS in September of the previous year. As of now, there are 3,427 companies that have been granted licenses, with distribution across five key sectors: Banking (205), Capital Markets (1,782), Financial Advisory (579), Insurance (392), and Payments (469). Among the licensees, notable names in the fintech and blockchain industries can be found, including BitRock Capital, Circle, PayPal, BlackRock, Paxos, Revolut, Blockchain Founders Fund, and Alipay. These companies reflect the diverse and growing landscape of financial technology and digital asset services in Singapore.

In a statement on Medium, CEO and Co-Founder Peter Smith commended the MAS for its “transparent regulatory process that prioritizes crypto industry oversight while allowing innovation to thrive.” The company also expressed its view of Singapore as an attractive city-state for investment and growth, particularly for its institutional customers.

The granting of the license to is part of Singapore’s broader efforts to establish itself as a hub for the cryptocurrency industry. Earlier on August 7, MAS announced a commitment of approximately $112 million (around 150 million Singapore dollars) to support the financial technology sector, including those in Web3. Additionally, the regulator introduced new rules in July, requiring crypto service providers to hold customer funds in a statutory trust by the end of the year.

Singapore’s regulatory approach has been marked by a balance between oversight and encouragement of innovation. The country has been positioning itself as a favorable destination for crypto firms, with a July report by Galaxy Digital indicating that Singapore-based crypto firms were third in line for crypto startup funding in Q2 2022, trailing only the United States and the United Kingdom.

The approval of’s license is a significant step in Singapore’s ongoing efforts to foster a regulated and thriving cryptocurrency ecosystem. It reflects the city-state’s commitment to thoughtful regulation that both ensures consumer protection and facilitates technological advancement in the financial sector.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / /

Singapore Red Cross Partners with Triple-A to Accept Cryptocurrency Donations

Singapore Red Cross, a prominent humanitarian organization, has announced a partnership with Triple-A, the first crypto payment gateway licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), to accept cryptocurrency donations. The partnership was revealed on August 7, 2023, just ahead of Singapore’s National Day.

Triple-A, a licensed crypto payment gateway, enables businesses to increase revenue by accepting crypto payments and payouts. Their white-label solutions allow businesses to leverage the benefits of the growing crypto market without exposure to volatility risk or the need to handle or convert digital currencies. Trusted by over 20,000 businesses, Triple-A also holds licenses from Banque de France’s ACPR in Europe and is registered with the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

With the integration of Triple-A’s white-label crypto payment solutions, the Singapore Red Cross can now accept donations in various cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Tether (USDT), and USD Coin (USDC). All crypto donations will be converted into fiat currency and settled via bank transfer within one business day, ensuring prompt access to funds for humanitarian initiatives.

The Secretary General and CEO of Singapore Red Cross, Mr. Benjamin William, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, “Cryptocurrency donations have become increasingly popular due to the efficiency of processing them and their global accessibility. By accepting digital currencies, we open our doors to a new segment of donors who are tech-savvy and wish to make a difference through their digital assets.”

Mr. Eric Barbier, CEO of Triple-A, also commented on the collaboration, saying, “We’re honoured to partner with the Singapore Red Cross in enabling cryptocurrency donations and empowering donors to support humanitarian causes with digital assets. Crypto payments offer faster, more secure transactions, reduce administrative overheads, and ensure that the funds reach those in need promptly.”

The new payment option is now live on the Singapore Red Cross website, allowing donors from around the world to contribute using their preferred cryptocurrencies. The partnership aims to uplift the vulnerable in Singapore and open up more opportunities for a new generation of tech-savvy donors.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / /

China and Singapore establish task force for green finance cooperation

China and Singapore have joined forces to establish a task force aimed at deepening bilateral cooperation in green and transition finance. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced the collaboration with the People’s Bank of China (PBC) in creating the China-Singapore Green Finance Taskforce (GFTF). The two major Asian economies seek to develop a set of financial standards, products, technologies, and definitions to support a low-carbon future in the region.

The GFTF will facilitate greater public-private sector collaboration and create concrete initiatives to catalyze capital flows to support a credible and inclusive transition to a low carbon future for both countries and the region. Public-private participants from China and Singapore will work together to co-develop the necessary initiatives. According to Gillian Tan, the assistant managing director and chief sustainability officer of MAS, this collaboration is vital in ensuring that both countries’ financial sectors remain sustainable in the long term.

Initially, the GFTF will focus on finding common ground for taxonomies and definitions regarding each other’s existing transition activities. The task force will also strengthen sustainability bond market connectivity, which includes two-way access to green and transition bond products. MAS and PBC will collaborate on this initiative to ensure that sustainable finance adoption is more widely accepted and accessible to all stakeholders in the region.

The GFTF’s technology initiative will involve MetaVerse Green Exchange, a licensed crypto exchange from Singapore, and Beijing Green Exchange, a Beijing municipal government-approved company. The two companies will help facilitate sustainable finance adoption and pilot digital green bonds with carbon credits. This initiative aims to promote sustainable finance adoption by providing more accessible and user-friendly digital platforms for investors and other stakeholders.

Chinese banks are reportedly opening bank accounts for regulated crypto companies, with several acting as a payment layer for the crypto platforms. The state-owned Bank of Communications is in talks to open accounts for regulated companies. Additionally, Hong Kong’s largest virtual bank, ZA Bank, will act as the settlement bank for crypto companies, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. This initiative aims to provide more opportunities for crypto companies to access the necessary funding for their operations while ensuring that the financial system remains safe and stable.

In conclusion, the China-Singapore Green Finance Taskforce (GFTF) is a significant step towards greater collaboration in green and transition finance initiatives in the region. The task force’s focus on developing financial standards, products, technologies, and definitions will enable the region to make significant strides towards a low-carbon future. The involvement of public and private participants from China and Singapore is vital in ensuring that the region’s financial sector remains sustainable in the long term. Additionally, the GFTF’s technology initiative involving MetaVerse Green Exchange and Beijing Green Exchange aims to promote sustainable finance adoption by providing more accessible and user-friendly digital platforms for investors and other stakeholders.


Tagged : / / / / /

Zipmex Requests Moratorium Extension in Singapore

Cryptocurrency exchange Zipmex has requested another extension to its moratorium on debt payments in Singapore due to liquidity issues. The firm has filed a request in Singapore’s courts to extend its existing moratorium period by two months. Zipmex plans to use the extra time to plan and reopen Z Wallet withdrawals.

Zipmex initially filed for a moratorium in July, which allowed the company to postpone payments due to its exposure to Celsius, a cryptocurrency lending platform. The exchange suspended withdrawals earlier that month, while CEO Marcus Lim did not deny reports that the firm was facing insolvency. Singapore’s courts granted Zipmex’s moratorium request, giving the company until December 2022 to come up with a restructuring plan.

However, the platform has continued to request extensions on the moratorium, with the most recent one likely pushing its deadlines to June. In an announcement on April 18, Zipmex said it was in negotiations with investors to “maximize returns for customers” following a delay in payments.

It’s unclear which investor Zipmex was referring to in its latest announcement. In March, venture capital firm V Ventures reportedly did not provide a payment of more than $1 million necessary for Zipmex to avoid liquidating certain operations and stop distributing payroll to employees.

Zipmex’s latest request for an extension highlights the challenges faced by cryptocurrency exchanges in a volatile market. The crypto industry has seen significant fluctuations in value over the past year, with Bitcoin alone experiencing a dramatic rise and fall in value. This has led to liquidity issues for some exchanges, as investors are unable to withdraw funds and pay debts.

The company’s struggles also reflect the broader regulatory challenges facing cryptocurrency exchanges. Many countries are grappling with how to regulate the industry, with some governments taking a more restrictive approach. In Singapore, authorities have implemented strict rules for cryptocurrency exchanges, including requiring them to obtain a license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Despite these challenges, the cryptocurrency industry continues to attract investors and users around the world. While some exchanges may struggle, others are thriving, and the industry as a whole shows no signs of slowing down. However, as the Zipmex case demonstrates, investors and exchanges must navigate a complex landscape filled with uncertainty and risk.


Tagged : / / / / /

Singapore authorities investigate Terraform Labs

Since Do Kwon and Terraform Labs were accused of engaging in fraudulent activity by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) a month ago, the authorities in Singapore have begun an investigation into the firm that Kwon helped build, Terraform Labs. According to the allegations made in the action brought by the SEC, Kwon stole about 10,000 bitcoin from the Terra platform and the Luna Foundation Guard, which he then turned into fiat currency. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) asserts that Kwon has cleaned more than one hundred million dollars’ worth of bitcoins since the original collapse of the site.

An email issued by the Singaporean police on March 6 said that “investigations have began in respect to Terraform Laboratories,” as stated in a report by Bloomberg. In addition, the email said that the investigations are “ongoing,” and that Kwon is not in the city-state at the present time.

Several participants in the cryptocurrency industry have voiced their disapproval of the case on the grounds that it might pave the way for the SEC to target stablecoins in future litigation. The comparisons of assets made by the SEC have even been described as “wild” by lawyers working in the business.

The beginning of this whole affair can be traced back to May 2022, when the stablecoin known as Terra USD (UST) was unpegged from the US dollar. The following demise of the Terra ecosystem was responsible for a huge implosion in the market for digital assets, which resulted in losses of approximately $40 billion.

Authorities in South Korea have also conducted an investigation into Terraform Laboratories, and a warrant has been issued for Kwon’s arrest in that country. In an attempt to identify Kwon, South Korean law enforcement officers headed to Serbia. On February 15, South Korean prosecutors filed a warrant to arrest a local e-commerce executive who they accused of taking Terra (LUNA) in exchange for promoting Terra Labs. The executive was suspected of receiving the payment for marketing Terra Labs.

As at the time this article was written, Kwon has not made any comments. During the whole of the incident, the co-founder of Terraform Labs has been quite active on social media. On the other hand, it is the beginning of February and he has not tweeted since then.


Tagged : / / / / /

DBS Bank to Expand Crypto Services to Hong Kong

As Hong Kong strives to become a center for digital assets, the Singaporean megabank DBS Group, which is wholly controlled by the Singaporean government, is making plans to extend its cryptocurrency services to the Chinese territory.

According to a report from Bloomberg dated February 13, DBS Bank intends to submit an application for a license that would enable it to provide cryptocurrency trading services to clients in Hong Kong.

Sebastian Paredes, the CEO of DBS Bank Hong Kong, said that the company intends to submit an application for a license in Hong Kong so that the bank will be able to offer digital assets to clients located in Hong Kong.

According to Paredes, DBS is “extremely sensitive” to the dangers that are involved with digital assets, but the company is excited about the newly proposed crypto-related rules in Hong Kong. Once the legislation have been clarified in their entirety and DBS “understands properly the framework,” the bank is ready to become one of the first lenders in Hong Kong to provide cryptocurrency services, as he said.

A few years ago, DBS Bank took a significant leap into the cryptocurrency business by announcing plans to create an institutional cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore around the end of the year 2020. Additionally, the business has been aiming to broaden the accessibility of its cryptocurrency platform to retail investors and has been using decentralized financial technology to collaborative initiatives with the central bank of Singapore.

The announcement comes shortly after DBS revealed that its annual net profit had increased by 20%, reaching a record 8.19 billion Singaporean dollars (SGD), which is equivalent to $6.7 billion in the United States.

The total revenue rose by 16% to 16.5 billion Singapore dollars, which is equivalent to $12.4 billion, surpassing 16 billion Singapore dollars for the first time in history.

In the midst of China’s special administrative region continuing to reiterate its pro-crypto position, DBS Bank has announced ambitions to extend its operations to Hong Kong. Paul Chan, the finance secretary of Hong Kong, made the announcement in January that the Hong Kong government is open to working with crypto and fintech businesses in 2023. The official also said that a large number of companies in the sector have indicated their intentions to either extend their operations in Hong Kong or to go public on the local markets.

According to earlier reports, the legislature of Hong Kong has enacted legislation that would result in the establishment of a licensing system for virtual asset service providers in the month of December 2022. The new regulatory framework is being developed with the intention of giving cryptocurrency exchanges the same level of market recognition that conventional financial institutions are now afforded by the existing regulatory system.

Singapore has adopted a more rigorous approach to the cryptocurrency business in the wake of big industry failures in 2022. This comes at a time when Hong Kong authorities have been gradually relaxing their stance on cryptocurrencies in recent months. Following the failure of the Singaporean cryptocurrency hedge fund Three Arrows Capital in September, the Monetary Authority of Singapore introduced legislation in October to prohibit all types of bitcoin loans.


Tagged : / / / / / /
Bitcoin (BTC) $ 38,036.19 2.80%
Ethereum (ETH) $ 2,057.29 2.11%
Litecoin (LTC) $ 69.86 1.45%
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $ 223.57 0.83%