Digitized Securities Exchange Gets Regulator’s Go-Ahead

Singapore’s The Business Times confirmed on Feb. 3 that the platform, developed by blockchain infrastructure firm ICHX Tech, is now fully operational and licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the city-state’s central bank.

Capital markets blockchain platform iSTOX has graduated from Singapore’s regulatory sandbox and been approved as a recognized market operator and capital markets services licensee.

A regulated digitized securities platform

MAS, which also serves as Singapore’s financial regulator, launched its FinTech Regulatory Sandbox to encourage local projects to pursue innovative financial products and services within a secure, efficient and low-regulatory pressure environment .

ICHX Tech’s iSTOX will offer issuance, settlement, custody and secondary trading for digitized securities – heralding a new, fully-regulated arrival on the blockchain scene in a major global financial center.

Now that it has graduated from MAS’ sandbox, restrictions on iSTOX will be lifted, including limitations on the size of the issuances it can host and the number of investors that can draw in. The firm is reported to have confirmed its graduation during a press conference Monday.

Recent local developments in crypto

As reported, MAS has recently proposed bringing crypto derivatives trading under its purview. Its proposal would make the trading of derivatives based on underlying assets like Bitcoin and Ether (ETH) subject to the city-state’s Securities and Futures Act.

Together with state investment firm Temasek Holdings and the United States’ largest bank, JPMorgan Chase, MAS also created a prototype multi-currency blockchain-based payments network at the end of last year.

Singapore Temporarily Exempts Crypto Firms, Including Coinbase, From New Licensing Regime

A number of cryptocurrency firms have been exempted from holding a payments license in Singapore till this summer.An extensive list of companies posted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) includes well-known exchanges and custodians such as Binance, Coinbase, Ripple and BitGo, with all being allowed to continue operating without a payments license until July 28, 2020.

The exemption will end after that date, or if firms registered in Singapore submit a license application under the Payments Services Act 2019, or are approved or rejected for a license by MAS.

Under the act, all financial entities conducting payments are required to hold a license for specific payment services in Singapore, a rule aimed to ensure regulatory certainty and consumer safety. Parliament passed an amendment on 14 January 2019 bringing crypto, or Digital Payment Token services, under the same legislation.

The tougher anti-money laundering compliance regime facing firms as a result has already led to one firm shutting up shop. Cryptocurrency payments provider Coinpip said it was suspending operations on March 13 while it considered applying for the new license.

Crypto firms already working in Singapore are required to first register with MAS, then apply for a license to operate. A failure to notify MAS is a breach of the requirements and will mean such firms would lose any exemption, according to the new announcement.

The authority notes that the firms on the list are not licensed, but have notified of their operations.

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