Singapore Begins Crackdown on Unlicensed Bitcoin Sellers

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Singapore authorities charged a 23-year-old woman with breaking the city-state’s ban on unlicensed bitcoin sales on Wednesday.

The woman allegedly bought S$3,350 (about $2,400) in bitcoin in late February 2020 using funds the police say came from the proceeds of an online scam. The Straits Times identified the woman as a Singaporean national named “Lange Vivian” and stated Lange was associated with a loan shark named “Boss.”

The charges appear to be the first instance of Singapore enforcing its updated digital currency regulations. Under the Payment Services Act of 2019, all so-called “Digital Payment Token” (DPT) service providers must receive licensure from the state. The Monetary Authority of Singapore introduced the law in late January.

Singaporean Police said Lange did not have a license nor was she exempt from having one. They did not give details of the alleged crime beyond claiming that Lange committed it “on the instruction of an unknown person in return for a commission.”

Lange faces a maximum penalty of S$125,000 (roughly $88,000) in fines and three years’ imprisonment for violating the Payment Services Act, according to a press release from the Singapore Police. 

Lange faces additional though apparently unrelated charges for acting on behalf of a loan shark, according to the Straits Times, which pointed out that those charges come with a caning penalty for men.

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