Understanding payment services regulation in Singapore

Mars Panda is Headquartered in Singapore, and while trying to best comply to Singapore Regulations, has commissioned an entity that has obtained a regulatory exemption under the Payment Services Act (“PSA”) for digital payments token services, Legatus Global Pte Ltd to be issuing the Mars Panda Token (MPT) as well as doing the KYC/AML during the private sales and distribution of tokens to private investors.

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The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is the central bank and financial regulatory authority of Singapore. One of the key financial sectors regulated by MAS is the Payments industry and thus financial institutions like payment service providers and payment systems are under the purview of MAS.

With the prevalence of cryptocurrencies and digital tokens as a new mode of electronic payment, MAS has put into place the Payment Service Act (PSA) 2019 to include regulatory certainty in these areas and safeguard consumers’ use of such payments. The PSA serves as an omnibus regulatory framework for both traditional and new payment services providers, ensuring their compliance with the Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism regulations.

Under PSA, there are seven types of payment services activities requiring compliance:

  • Activity A — Account issuance service
  • Activity B — Domestic money transfer service
  • Activity C — Cross-border money transfer service
  • Activity D — Merchant acquisition service
  • Activity E — E-money issuance service
  • Activity F — Digital payment token service
  • Activity G — Money-changing service

Applicants will also be choosing the class of license that best accommodate their needs:

  • Major Payment Institution licence — if the entity wants to conduct payment services without being restricted by specified thresholds
  • Standard Payment Institution licence — if the entity wants to conduct payment services with specified thresholds
  • Money-Changing licence — if the entity only intends to carry out money-changing service

With the effect of the PSA, the most significant change is that providers of digital payment token (DPT) services in Singapore would now need to comply with MAS regulations and are only allowed to operate with the PSA License. Based on the definition given by MAS, DPT service encompasses buying or selling of DPTs (commonly known as cryptocurrencies), or providing a platform to allow persons to exchange DPTs.

The PSA has come into force on 28 January 2020. All entities that intend to engage in the seven payment services activities regulated under PSA are required to hold a license from MAS that permits them to do so. For payment services providers that are newly regulated by MAS with the commencement of PSA, MAS has provided transitional arrangements by granting exemption to such entities from holding the license for a specified period for specific activity. The exemption will allow them to continue providing specific payment services while their PSA license applications are being processed, and ceasing upon approval or rejection by MAS, or if the application is withdrawn by the applicant.

The list of selected entities who are screened by MAS and thereafter granted this exemption for the specified period has been published on MAS website. Among all the entities that are given the exemption is Mars Panda’s partner, Legatus Global Private Limited. The entity has given notification to MAS in February 2020 and subsequently applied for the PSA license before 28 July 2020. This allowed Legatus to be granted the license exemption status for the category of DPT by MAS and is permitted to provide DPT service while its license application is being processed.

Mars Panda Token (MPT) distribution and sales will be operating under Legatus Global Private Limited. Legatus’ license exemption applies to the category of DPT which refers to all cryptocurrencies, including DeFi tokens, that have now become regulated under MAS. As part of the partnership agreement, Legatus Global Pte Ltd to be issuing the Mars Panda Token (MPT) as well as doing the KYC/AML during the private sales and distribution of tokens to private investors.

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Legatus Global Pte Ltd is an entity that has obtained a regulatory exemption under the Payment Services Act (“PSA”) for digital payments token services. Legatus Global is commissioned to handle the issuance of Mars Panda Token (MPT) as well as the KYC/AML during the private sales and distribution of tokens to private investors. Legatus Global is also handling the process for private sales and distribution.

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