Singapore may be the next big metaverse and crypto hub, Cryptomeria report suggests

In Brief

Singapore has all the makings of the next big metaverse and crypto hub.

The pandemic has sped up the adoption of the metaverse and cryptocurrencies in Singapore.

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Web3 investment firm Cryptomeria Capital released its newest report entitled “Singapore Web3 ecosystem overview.” The paper discusses Singapore’s attitude towards web3 businesses, law, and the existing crypto and metaverse ecosystem.

Singapore, “with its strong legal system, the rule of law, first-class judiciary, accessibility, connectivity, and strong legal infrastructure,” has all the makings of the next big metaverse and crypto hubs, according to the research. Unlike most countries, the city-state has strong crypto-related legislation that makes it easy to set up a crypto business and thrive.

Digital transformation

Legislators, while still cautious about cryptos, are in no way stopping the progress from happening. The pandemic has hastened the adoption of various digital solutions, with virtual meetings and work-from-home taking over the regular nine-to-five office jobs, and even with the pandemic now slowly easing up, the world has already made progress and is not keen on taking a step back.

The legislator sees that there’s interest in the metaverse—people embraced virtual meetings during the pandemic. As Edwin Tong. Minister of Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister of Justice, noted at the TechLaw Fest 2022: Up Your Game conference, once the popularity of virtual meetings skyrocketed in 2020, it’s not dropping.

The metaverse is already becoming a part of our business and leisure, while social engagements, gaming, and art are entering the space. With clear regulatory framework, there are plenty of options for innovation: The legal proceedings have already become highly digitalized, with arbitration hearings and mediation sessions carried out remotely. In fact, Singapore is considering metasettlement in jurisprudence.

“Covid brought about a rapid digital shift in the way businesses function alongside people’s behaviours and habits. Suddenly digital currencies were a household conversation, owning digital assets like cryptocurrencies and NFTs was no longer a foreign concept, and businesses were talking about the third generation of the internet. This has put pressure on the ecosystem where companies are looking to innovate and build at lightning speed.

Yi Ming Ng, CEO of Tribe.

If that can be done, what else? If you can have a meeting in the Metaverse, why not hold a wedding ceremony? Actually, as a matter of fact, the first The Sandbox hosted its first metaverse wedding at Singapore’s Alkaff Mansion earlier this month. Bride and groom tied the know in the metaverse version of the Alkaff Mansion, one of the most beautiful settings for outdoor weddings in Singapore.

Crypto licenses

Metaverse solutions are taking great strides in Singapore. What about crypto businesses?

Thanks to clear regulations, cryptocurrency businesses have the right conditions to thrive—they don’t have to worry about legislators’ mood toward the crypto space and can do what they do best—create innovative technologies and services. While not all crypto companies require licensing under Singaporean law, some whose operations fall under the Singapore Payment Services Act 2019 (“PSA”) or the Singapore Securities and Futures Act (“SFA”) do need licensing. Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), offers two types of licenses: a standard payment institution license and a major payment institution license.

Singapore may seem picky when it comes to accepting new crypto businesses when you first see how few companies have received their licenses. Due to high standards, so far, only three crypto companies have received licenses out of the 170 companies that applied. The Managing Director of the MAS, Ravi Menon, said, “We don’t need 160 of them to open a store here. Half of them can do it, but with very high standards, which, in my opinion, is the best result.”

Singapore—the next big Asia metaverse and crypto hub

It’s clear Singapore is doing a lot of things right if many crypto and metaverse businesses choose to open or move there. In 2021, some of the largest and most recognizable cryptocurrency exchanges—Binance, Gemini, Coinbase, and—applied for licenses in Singapore.

“Singapore has all the key ingredients to become a key Asia crypto hub. Many founders, investors, and exchanges continue to set up headquarters here on this sunny island. Singapore maintains its unique melting pot of mixed cultures and talents as it strives to incubate the next wave of unicorn blockchain projects. SkyArk is building the largest blockchain incubator hub in Singapore and is backed by prominent institutions and listed companies.”

said Kelvin Chua, Co-Founder of SkyArk Studio.

Right now, we’re seeing a wave of innovators disrupting the space. To take the burden off new companies, Singapore has created a regulatory sandbox for newbies so that they have time to start operations without having to worry about all the potential regulatory issues right from the start.

The future looks bright for the metaverse and crypto businesses in Singapore.

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Karolina Gaszcz

Karolina is a writer and journalist with a background in literary studies. She loves exciting tech solutions and art, and NFTs are often a perfect amalgamation of the two. Outside of work, she’s a plant mom, a vintage fashion enthusiast, and a gamer.

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