The Rise of ICOs, Digital Tokens and Virtual Currencies - Do Securities Regulations Apply?
On 10 August 2017, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) issued a joint statement, advising consumers on the risks associated with digital token and virtual currency related investment schemes. This follows on from an earlier public release by MAS on 1 August 2017, clarifying the regulatory position on the offer of digital tokens in Singapore.
Globally, there is an emergence of initial coin (or token) offerings (ICOs) as a source of funding for startups and technology companies latching onto the digital token trends. The Business Times reported that based on information obtained from Tokendata.io, there were 34 ICO projects raising USD 665 million in July 2017 alone. Singapore has also seen its fair share of ICOs and digital tokens offering, ranging from property backed tokens to crowdfunding platforms for entrepreneurs to raise funds by issuing tokens sold for virtual currencies.