Singapore is not exactly a libertarian paradise, but it welcomes the benighted bitcoin—on its terms, of course.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore became the first Asian regulator to bring bitcoin dealers under its purview, as regulators across the world grow wary.
The MAS will require dealers that buy, sell or facilitate the exchange of virtual currencies for real currencies "to verify the identities of their customers and report suspicious transactions"—much as it requires of money changers—the regulator said in a news release Thursday. The purpose, the release added, is to prevent bitcoin from being used in money laundering or terrorist financing….
Last week Japan announced it does not recognize bitcoin as a currency and won't regulate it as a financial product. In January, Taiwan barred physical bitcoin teller machines and Hong Kong's regulator cautioned against the use of "virtual commodities such as bitcoin." In December, China's central bank banned financial institutions from offering bitcoin-related services.