Virtually Everything | Episode 4 | Striking the right balance on virtual assets: The Singapore approach

  • Podcast 29 April 2024 29 April 2024
  • Global

  • Technology, Outsourcing & Data

This is the fourth episode of the Clyde & Co Virtually Everything podcast series. In this episode, hosts Lucy Nash and Vyasna Mahadevey welcome Zhen Guang Lam, a senior associate in the corporate team based in Singapore. Throughout the episode, Zhen Guang shares invaluable insights into the regulatory landscape of the virtual assets space in Singapore.

Exploring Singapore’s virtual assets frontier 

In this episode of "Virtually Everything," the hosts dive into the bustling world of digital assets in Singapore, focusing on its emergence as a key player in this rapidly evolving sector. Joined by Zhen Guang Lam, a senior associate from the Singapore office, the discussion sheds light on why Singapore has become such an attractive destination for businesses in the virtual assets space.

Zhen Guang outlines four key factors driving Singapore's ascent as an Asia Digital Assets Hub:

  • Gateway to Asian markets: Singapore serves as a strategic springboard for digital assets firms to access other Asian markets, despite its small domestic market size.
  • Diverse population: Singapore's diverse population, including a large expatriate and migrant community, makes it an ideal destination for digital assets companies targeting specific user demographics.
  • Wealth management sector: The country's thriving wealth management sector, coupled with a significant pool of high-net-worth individuals, presents ample opportunities for digital assets firms.
  • Advanced regulatory framework: Singapore's progressive fintech regulatory framework, including initiatives like the regulatory sandbox, provides a conducive environment for innovation and technology test-bedding.

The conversation then delves into Singapore's regulatory landscape, highlighting the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) as the sole regulator governing financial services in the country, in contrast to the UAE's multiple financial services regulators. Singapore's MAS adopts a consultative and pragmatic approach towards cryptocurrency regulation, with a focus on risk-based assessments and international standards.

Zhen Guang discusses the regulatory objectives of the MAS, emphasising the importance of combatting money laundering, terrorism financing, and cybersecurity threats in the digital assets space. He also touches upon Singapore's pioneering regulation of stablecoins, showcasing the country's proactive stance in shaping the regulatory landscape.

Challenges and opportunities for virtual asset businesses in Singapore are explored, including the rigorous process for obtaining payment services licenses and recent regulatory measures to safeguard retail investors.

The conversation concludes with insights into potential future developments in Singapore's virtual assets sector, such as retail investor safeguards and the rise of Web3—a decentralised web ecosystem enabling secure transactions and interactions without centralised control.

Don’t miss our next episode as Virtually Everything welcomes Michelle Wong, an associate in the corporate insurance team based in Hong Kong, to shed light on the virtual assets landscape in this vibrant city. 

This podcast forms part of the Virtually Everything podcast series. To find out more about the topics discussed in the series, please visit our dedicated Digital Assets and Blockchain page.


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