Singapore has no special legislation regulating blockchain projects and cryptocurrencies. However, the key legal relations in the area fall within the scope of general legislation, the application of which is detailed in special guidelines published by the regulatory authorities (which are not legislative acts though). The regulation of blockchain and cryptocurrency-related issues is within the competence of the following bodies: Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office (STRO). There are differences in approaches towards legal status of tokens, they could have the status of goods/services or securities depending of their nature.
Definiteness of Legal Regulation
As Singapore has no special legislation regulating blockchain projects and cryptocurrencies, the key legal relations in this sphere are regulated by analogy on the basis of other legislation acts. According to the explanations of the applicable legislation provided by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), cryptocurrencies have the status of goods or services. At the same time, according to the explanation given by the MAS, the tokens in general should be distinguished from virtual currencies in particular. Offerings or issues of tokens may be governed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in accordance with the Securities and Futures Act (SFA), if the tokens are financial products. Activities involving cryptocurrencies are taxed. Cryptocurrency exchange, mining, exchanges, and other activities are subject to income tax. The activities of cryptocurrency exchanges are not subject to licensing unless they offer tokens falling within the definition of securities. Exchanges are subject to the general requirements of the AML/CFT legislation, including the reporting about suspicious transactions.
Stability of Legal Regulation
There were no changes in the legislation regulating cryptocurrency projects over the past year. However, in August 2016, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) launched a public discussion of the Payment Services Bill. It is expected to be introduced to the Parliament in 2018. Thus, there are reliable grounds to assume that the legislation regulating cryptocurrencies will be amended over the medium term. At the same time, the nature of the regulation is expected to remain unchanged after the new legislation is introduced.
Adequacy of Legal Regulation
The country has created adequate legal environment. Regulation is aimed at protecting investors and combating money laundering and terrorism financing. State bodies promote the cryptocurrency-related business and blockchain projects development.