Tiger states: Singapore renounces crypto regulation, Korea renounces openness

The Southeast Asian tiger states are keeping a close eye on crypto currencies, but from different angles, as this week’s latest news proves once again. While Singapore’s highest financial supervisory authority is initially refraining from regulating crypto currencies, South Korea is confirming its sceptical tone. The central bank of the country does not want to recognize crypto currencies as official means of payment.

In the course of the seemingly steadily rising Bitcoin exchange rate and despite increasing state regulation, crypto currencies are gaining in economic importance every day, especially in the Asian region. The largest part of the capital mass is traded here and converted, this betrays the view of the market.

By definition, however, the crypto currencies elude state control and supervision – to the complete concern of some states and the local matador China, for example. Fearing this, the Middle Kingdom had put on hard bandages against crypto currencies last September, closed stock exchanges and banned new crypto currencies, so-called ICOs. In contrast, other countries such as Japan rely entirely on the potential of digital means of payment and accept Bitcoin as their official currency.

The range of government responses to the crypto boom in the Asian economic area is reflected in this week’s news – partly optimistic, partly sceptical – in the Southeast Asian tiger states of Singapore and Korea.

Singapore: No basis for Bitcoin formula

China’s southern neighbour, the island state of Singapore, is less worried this week: in an interview with the American business news channel Bloomberg, Ravi Menon, the director of Singapore’s central bank, stressed on Monday that Singapore had its eyes firmly on the review about the Bitcoin formula but did not want to regulate them for the time being.

“It is well known that Bitcoin formula and crypto currencies are often misused for illegal financial purposes. That’s why we want anti-money laundering controls,” explained Menon. However, there is no need for financial regulation.

According to Menon, it would rather be the aim of Singapore’s financial supervisory authority to establish legal framework conditions for intermediaries and barter exchanges, for example. This is intended to prevent digital money laundering.

As BTC-ECHO reports, several states this week had expressed criticism of the money laundering potential of crypto currencies. For example, the US drug agency DEA and the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates share Singapore’s concerns.

In general, Menon confirmed the island state’s open course towards crypto currencies in an interview. As Coindesk reports, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam only made it clear at the beginning of the month that Singapore had its eyes on their possibilities, but no intention of regulating the digital currencies.

South Korea: Crypto currencies are raw materials for Bitcoin trader

A look at South Korea, however, shows that such an open central bank course does not dominate the picture everywhere. This week, for example, completely different tones were heard from the Bitcoin trader of the supreme financial authorities of China’s eastern neighbour: According to the Korean news service Seoul Yonhap-News and Coindesk, Korea’s central bank director Lee Ju-yeol, in an official assessment to the country’s parliament, underscored Korea’s refusal to accept crypto currencies as a scam of payment.

Crypto currencies are a commodity, not a legal currency. Lee Ju-yeol told the deputies that this would allow their further regulation.

With this estimate the authority confirms its skeptical course opposite crypto currencies. In recent months, it has significantly intensified its regulatory efforts and banned Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in September, for example, like China.

In his assessment, Lee Ju-yeol stressed that, similar to Sweden, more research is needed in the area of virtual currencies. With this, crypto investors can continue to hope. The rejection of the Korean central bank does not seem to represent a complete rejection of the potential of digital means of payment.