Singapore blocks local STO, citing regulatory violations

February 24, 2019

Singapore’s monetary authority has halted the launch of a Security Token Offering (STO) by a local Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in the city-state. The details of the development were first published in an announcement made on January 24th, 2019.

Existing rules stipulate that all STOs must adhere to Singapore’s securities laws and are required to register with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). According to the MAS, which is responsible for enforcing crypto regulations, owners seeking exemptions for their offerings are advised to be aware of certain conditions, such as advertising restrictions.

The issuer of the blocked STO had earlier sought an exemption that would have permitted an offering without registering with the MAS, but the issuer failed to adhere to the prohibition on advertising by posting a promotional article on the professional networking platform, LinkedIn. The issuer has since temporarily suspended the STO, following a warning from the MAS.

Investors have also been warned about the risks associated with token offerings.  These include possible fraud, price speculation, and the lack of a proven track record for some companies. Customers have been advised by the MAS to carefully assess these risks prior to investing capital.

The MAS finalized existing guidelines for payment providers in November 2018, bringing certain cryptocurrencies under its purview. A compulsory licensing regime was introduced for payment service providers, who now must apply for one of three licenses according to the nature and scope of their crypto activities.

Additionally, Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX) conducted a blockchain trial in October 2018 with the involvement of the monetary authority. SGX was able to successfully test blockchain technology for tokenized assets, with the assistance of Singaporean tech firm Anquan, Big Four consultancy Deloitte, and the US-based Nasdaq Stock Market.


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