Singapore Joins Countries Who Opt To Regulate Bitcoin
The honeymoon period for Bitcoin seems to be ending as more governments are finally having to implement controls and regulations on this volatile commodity. While there is so much talk about Bitcoin there is still the element of the unknown which frightens governments. The concept of having a virtual currency that you cannot hold in your hands and which no bank issues is too much to handle for many.
Added to that is the undeniable fact that most if not all governments see virtual currencies as a threat to their established banking institutions which up to now enjoyed a virtual monopoly. The potential for Bitcoin to drastically cut transaction fees has got banks agreeing on the fact that they need to exert pressure on governments to regulate Bitcoin.
The bad publicity of the Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange has already led to Japan announcing their intention to redefine virtual currencies as a commodity which would be subject to restrictions. The latest country to get involved in the Bitcoin debate is that of Singapore. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced on Thursday that they intend to regulate virtual currencies in order “to address potential money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) risks.”
In a statement of intent the MAS said that any firm who buys, sells or facilitates the “exchange of virtual currencies for real currency” will be required to “verify the identities of their customers and report suspicious transactions to the Suspicious Transaction Reporting office.”
Singapore follows Russia and China who have also banned the use of Bitcoin as legal tender. While this latest development is another setback for Bitcoin, the overall hope is that consumer demand will succeed in maintaining Bitcoin as a growing online payment option. While no one denies there are teething problems, the potential for ordinary consumers to save billions is there for anyone who wants to see.