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NGC’s Lim: Amid shifting horizons, regional crypto regulations pave the way towards a more certain future
Contrary to beliefs that guidelines may essentially diminish interest in blockchain and crypto, it in fact, helps to legitimise the industry in the eyes of mainstream audiences institutional investors

January 09, 2018 | Roger Lim

 The Asia Pacific region has emerged at the forefront of cryptocurrency adoption with burgeoning financial hubs like Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore taking a welcoming stance towards the innovative potential of blockchain technology. As talks of mainstream adoption fill the airwaves, regulatory bodies continue to reevaluate their guidelines on crypto regulations, namely as they pertain to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). An often contentious area of crypto, ICOs continue to be met with skepticism by regulators and investors alike.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) revised its guidelines for ICOs earlier this month, followed closely by the Hong Kong Securities and Exchange Commission (SFC), which tightened its ICO regulations, including adding a clause that now limits the sale of digital assets to professional investors. This follows a trend of Asian nations generally increasing crypto laws on traders and exchanges. Markets such as China have opted to ban ICOs altogether.

With stiffer regulations, does this mark the demise of crypto investments, and as a result, innovation for the industry in Asia?

As one of the world’s leading innovation hubs, Singapore strikes a unique balance between support, stability, and control. Notwithstanding concerns of crypto crime, security, and fraud, interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies continue to flourish in the region.

To address current concerns and to better safeguard both investors and citizens alike, the MAS broadened its policies to enforce existing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and CFT (Combating the Finance of Terrorism) policies to ensure that all token issuances now have know-your-customer (KYC) and AML obligations. Any digital token that constitutes a product regulated by MAS will be similarly subjected to and must comply with the applicable securities laws. The updated guidelines also state that unless otherwise exempted, operators of platforms that issue digital token...

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Keywords: Blockchain, Technology, Crypto Crime, Cft, Digital Tokens, Fintech