Now that China has officially outlawed all cryptocurrency ICO activity, an interesting situation has been created. Not only will the major Chinese ICO platforms and projects have to refund their customers, but future projects will need to look for other settings. Singapore may become the next big ICO haven, as the city-state’s regulatory landscape is seemingly more favorable. That is, unless the local government cracks down on this activity as well.
Singapore Could Become an ICO Hotbed
Not every country in the world wants to be associated with cryptocurrency ICOs. Unless countries have regulation in place to protect consumers from financial harm due to scams and other predatory strategies, then they have a very poor view of ICOs. Hardly any country in the world has any form of regulation, though. Various states have been scrambling to come up with some semblance of a solution, but that is much easier said than done. So far, it seems the regulatory standstill will continue for quite some time to come.
Until we see major changes, some countries may be more open-minded toward the concept of an ICO than others. Singapore is certainly on that list, as the country has been focusing heavily on blockchain and fintech. Any company looking to launch an initial coin offering may lean toward Singapore. The region has somewhat lenient regulations and is tax-friendly, unlike China. It is also a great gateway for companies to the Asian market as a whole.
All of this will depend on how much scrutiny ICOs face from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) moving forward. After successfully hosting a handful of initial coin offerings in the country already, things are looking pretty solid for now, but that situation could change in a heartbeat. It would only take one dubious ICO project to turn the tables in a bad way for all parties involved. So far, the number of outright scam ICOs has been minimal, but rest assured some people will explore such opportunities regardless.
Singapore is seeking to become one of the major players in the fintech sector moving forward. Over the past few years, there have been several initiatives aiming to bring blockchain technology to this small state. With US$166 million allocated to the development of fintech projects and applications right now, Singapore is trying to position itself as one of the worldwide market leaders. Whether or not that bodes well for the future of cryptocurrency ICOs remains to be determined.
As we have seen in the past, Chinese regulation will not cripple markets in the long run. The Chinese government has attempted to ban Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies several times already. Every time it has done so, the value of these currencies bounced back quickly and the trading markets shifted to other countries. South Korea and Japan are now two primary trading regions for cryptocurrencies, having successfully taken the crown from China.
It is expected that the same will be true for the ICO market. While it is understandable that the PBoC wants to introduce regulation to prevent people from losing money, other countries will try to capitalize on this move to become safe havens for cryptocurrency ICOs. Singapore is one of the countries to pay attention to. This is especially true when considering how the MAS is protecting ICO activities through proper regulation in place already. It will be interesting to see how this situation plays out in the long run.