Lucia Kerri

MA of Singapore Grants Temporary Payment Services Licenses to Crypto Firms

In line with the recent passing of the Payment Services Act, the MAS announced that temporary licenses have been granted to 7 cryptocurrency companies.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) named Binance, Bitstamp, Coinbase, Gemini, Upbit, Luno and Wirex as the only cryptocurrency operators permitted to act as payment service providers up to six months. Within the six-month period, the related license applications of the said crypto firms will be approved or rejected by the MAS.

The Monetary Authority granted temporary license-exemption to the aforementioned companies, because they complied with the prerequisite of giving notification of their cryptocurrency operations in Singapore, even before the Payment Services Act passed legislation in January 2020. The MAS, which acts as the central bank of Singapore, made it clear that the unlicensed status will cease once the institution approves or rejects the related applications for payment-services licensure in the country.

Overview of the Payment Services Act of Singapore

The Payment Services Act is described as one that sets the framework for the dynamic and flexible regulation of Singapore’s payment system and providers of payment services. The purpose of which, is to establish regulatory certainty aimed at safeguarding the interest of consumers, whilst encouraging growth and innovation of the country’s payment services and FinTech systems.

”Specific Payment Services”

The regulatory framework of the PS Act applies to licensed payment Institutions that provide “specific payment services” such as account issuance, e-money issuances, merchant acquisitions, domestic money transfers, inward cross-border money transfers, and digital payment tokens. Under the Act, the payment services of cryptocurrency companies fall under the digital payment token classification.

Distinction of Licenses to Conduct Payment Services as a Business, from License to Conduct Money-Changing Services as a Business

Although some payment services may include foreign currency conversion, a licensed payment service provider must be a licensed money-changer when including stand-alone money-changing services as part of its business activities. In the same way, a licensed money changer can conduct only money-changing services, unless the operator obtains a duly approved license to provide payment services.

Distinction of Payment Services from Banking Services

The PS Act also contains prohibitions that distinguish payment services from banking services, by stating that:

Licensed payment service providers are prohibited from storing or accepting e-money as deposits on behalf of Singapore residents and of facilitating e-money cash withdrawals in Singapore dollars. This suggests that all e-money transactions will cover only direct payment transactions.

Moreover, payment service providers conducting e-money issuance as payments are prohibited from lending its customers’ money, or using customers’ money to finance any of the business activities being performed in connection with payment-service operations.

The above distinctions clearly state beforehand that for inquiries on whether the licensed money lender SG City Loan recommends, can loan out cryptocurrency money, the answer is no.

Posted by Lucia Kerri in Crypto

Why Bitcoin Miners Ceased Operations Amidst Crisis

The Covid-19 crisis and the resulting volatility of the cryptocurrency market prompted many digital asset farms and independent miners to stop operations.

Contrary to expectations that Bitcoin, being the leading digital asset, will surge once stock market investors shift to cryptocurrency investment during the crisis, the opposite happened. Along with the stock market rush that saw many investors unloading their shares, the bitcoin market reacted similarly. The cryptocurrency market also crashed, resulting to daily losses of about 50% that eventually drove the Bitcoin price below the $4,000 threshold, down to as low as $3,600.

Although the crypto-community saw the prices of cryptocurrencies rising, after the government legislated CARES Act was passed by Senate. The increases though were not enough to warrant that the price of bitcoin will not go down below threshold again.

That being the trend, many bitcoin miners and mining farms went ahead with decisions to halt operations, wary that the worsening health crisis will yet again spur sell offs that only spell losses to digital currency miners.

Why Volatility in Prices Affects Crypto Mining Operations

First off, it should be understood that the profitability of crypto mining operations is not the same as what investors could gain when trading their digital currencies.

Cryptomining after all is cost intensive, particularly with bitcoin; being the most transacted of all digital assets. Where some bitcoin investors may realize gains by leveraging their cryptocurrencies during price volatility, the same cannot be held true for coin miners.

If at the end of the day the price of a bitcoin is much lower than the costs incurred in analyzing and solving encryptions bitcoin transactions for the day, bitcoin miners incur losses. Mainly because the bitcoin compensations they will receive will not be enough to cover the corresponding costs of mining.

Underscoring the Significance of Digital Assets in Times of Economic Crisis

One trait that can distinguish digital assets from physical assets is that the uncertainty of cryotocurrency prices creates an advantage in times of real-cash insolvency. There have been bankruptcy proceedings in which the bankruptcy court was unable to pin down digital money as potential payment in satisfying the legal demands of creditors.

The extreme volatility in the price of bitcoins as demonstrated by the recent bitcoin trading activities, makes digital currency an unlikely asset to demand as settlement for a credit obligation.

Let us say a bankruptcy court includes bitcoins without objection by creditors, because at the time of awarding, the digital currency had a value of $6,600.

However, if in the next few days the price of bitcoin drops to $2,300, the creditor can trade or exchange the digital money for real cash at the lowered price, or wait until the price rises. The creditors can no longer demand for more bitcoins, since they took a risk when they agreed to accept digital currency as settlement of the bankrupt person’s obligations.

When looking for a bankruptcy lawyer san diego businesses recommend those who will be able to make the court understand why cryptocurrencies will not work as a reliable, equitable settlement of credit obligations.

Posted by Lucia Kerri in Crypto, Cryptocurrency Mining