Singapore Central Bank Touts Blockchain for Cross-Border Payments

Menon said:

And the  managing director also said that MAS does not want to stifle innovation about blockchain technology by introducing hard regulation, although he conceded that striking the right balance remains an obstacle to the jurisdiction.

In particular, to the investor-protection front, Menon reiterated MAS’s previously reported first coin offering (ICO) advice, cautioning that certain tokens could be regulated as securities.

“Here is the challenge that Singapore’s Project Ubin has set itself to resolve: to use blockchain technology to allow entities across jurisdictions to make payments into another.”

He continued to state that, after two “successful” proofs-of-concept, MAS has partnered with the Bank of Canada “to test and produce a cross-border solution utilizing crypto exemptions issued by both central banks.”

“Investor protection is just another immediate concern arising from the crypto mania. Where the crypto tokens represent ownership or even a security interest over an issuer’s assets or some other property, or a debt owed by the issuer, they could be considered securities under the Securities and Futures Act.”

He explained:
Nevertheless, he also raised concerns throughout the most recent speech over the growing risks connected with the emerging fiscal technology, saying that MAS has been watching areas like finance, money laundering and affects on monetary stability.

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The remarks follow Menon’s earlier opinions that, while he thinks crypto tokens are not eligible to be called currencies given that a deficiency of payment, accounting and storage attributes, he thinks “we can not say never” they won’t become a money in the foreseeable future.
MAS image via CoinDesk archive

Under this principle, first coin offering issuers must meet securities rules before launching nominal sales. Further, the secondary markets which facilitate trading of ICO tokens should also be registered and accepted by the MAS, according to Menon.
During a speech on Thursday in a monetary sector occasion, MAS managing director Ravi Menon climbed down to his belief that one of the “strongest” use cases for crypto tokens is to  facilitate cross-border settlements.