A Guide to Navigating the Crypto Exchange Ecosystem in Singapore

When crypto first went mainstream, naysayers called it a fad that would fade away in due course. Well, if that is true, then it is probably the longest-running fad of all time, at 15 years and counting. But, as you and I very well know, crypto is not just a fad. On the contrary, if the US SEC’s approval of several Bitcoin ETFs is anything to go by, it is only going to get even bigger and more widely accepted.

Do you want to guess which country is well-known as a hotspot, recording some of the most crypto activity in continental Asia and the world as a whole? Well, Singapore! 

For a few decades, the country has set itself apart as a key global financial hub, and with the advent of crypto, the country has stepped out in the lead as well. So, would you like to get into the fray in Singapore? Well, read on as we discuss everything you’ll ever need to know about navigating the crypto exchanges in Singapore.

The Regulatory Landscape for Crypto Exchanges

First of all, you should know that, as a country that’s keen to get out in front of the crypto evolution, Singapore has developed a relatively advanced regulatory framework, compared to many other countries that barely have any guidelines in place yet.

The regulatory landscape for Singapore’s crypto exchanges like Independent Reserve primarily involves three legislations, which we’ll discuss next: 

  1. Payment Services Act

The Payment Services Act serves as the foundation of crypto legislation in Singapore. The act is designed to guide the trade of cryptos, referred to as “Digital Payment Tokens”, which are interpreted to be crypto tokens, or just any other type of digital currencies, including in-game tokens and loyalty points. This act sets out the procedure for the licensing of exchanges and other associated services that enable crypto transactions.

  1. Securities & Futures Act

Cryptos do not only function as transaction tokens, they can also be securities. This has been one of the biggest dilemmas facing regulators globally, as they are usually unsure of how to classify cryptos. For example, in the US, if it is just a transaction currency, does the responsibility for regulation fall with just the US Treasury and/or the Federal Reserve? And if it is a security, does it fall to only the US SEC then?

Well, this is why regulation in Singapore views crypto through these three lenses – as payment tokens, as securities & futures, and as commodities. The SFA is designed to lay the framework for the trade in cryptos as securities or derivatives, just as it is in the traditional financial markets. 

  1. Commodity Trading Act

Finally, the CTA takes care of crypto as a commodity. The regulation guiding activities within this segment of the market, including the licensing of exchanges and other agents is provided for within the Commodity Trading Act.

Best Security Practices when Dealing With a Crypto Exchange

Security is a constantly recurring issue in the crypto ecosystem. Just like it is in the traditional financial markets. Given the high volume of assets being traded within the ecosystem, there is a high attraction for bad actors to try to take advantage of loopholes to steal crypto assets.

As a result, every crypto investor must be up to date about the best practices in cybersecurity, especially in terms of keeping their crypto wallets and tokens out of the reach of cybercriminals. In this section, we’ll discuss some of these actions. They are as follows:

  1. Use Cold Storage Wallets

Cold storage simply means taking your tokens out of exchanges and locking them in a more secure wallet, usually physical, that is not connected to the internet. Basically, if anyone were to access your tokens in cold storage, they would first have to have physical access to it. And, it is usually tougher to do than breaching a virtual wallet. 

So, for those large quantity tokens that you intend to hold long term, just chuck them in a cold storage device which you can then lock up in a safe in your house or in a safe deposit box as you wish. You can leave the smaller quantities that you intend to actively trade day-to-day on the crypto exchange.

  1. Keep Your Private Keys Safe

Crypto wallets typically have private keys that function as passwords. If these fall into anyone’s hands, you can imagine that it gives them access to your wallets and the crypto that they may contain. And you don’t want that, do you? So, don’t leave your private keys written on some scrap pad that you carry around in public, or published on a public platform where it can be accessed by others.

  1. Use Strong Passwords and Two-factor Authentication

The importance of using strong passwords can never be over-emphasized. Many times, cyber attacks merely employ brute force hacking, which is where the hackers try many combinations of passwords, in the hopes that one would work. In practice, they do this with high-performance programs that can try a thousand combinations in only a matter of minutes.

The stronger your password is, the more difficult it is for attacks of this type to work. Your password should include a combination of lower and upper case letters, numbers, and symbols and should be as long as possible to max out on complexity.

It is for the same reason that you need to use two-factor authentication to add another layer of security. This could be security questions, biometric login, or verification codes. Anything to make sure that hackers cannot get into your account using brute force alone.

  1. Avoid Logging In While Using Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fis are hotspots for cybercriminals looking to snoop into other people’s computers. So, the general advice is to avoid logging into them at all. If you must use your laptop at that cafe on the street corner, then you must have a mobile internet source with you to use. And if you must log in to public Wi-Fi, you should close any tabs that you have open that anyone could access your crypto through.

  1. Don’t Fall for Scams

Finally, just use your intuition and don’t fall for scams. They come in many different ways now, but in many cases, it is easy to see through them. Some of the most notable exams in recent history include when scammers hacked Vitalik Buterin’s Twitter account and stole almost $700K in mostly NFTs through a phishing link offering free NFTs. 

Another one was when hackers gained control of a couple of notable people’s Twitter accounts, including Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, and even Joe Biden, offering to double Bitcoin sent to their crypto wallets. And you can imagine they made away with crypto worth millions before the hack was discovered.

There are also phishing emails, where scammers send imitation emails with links for you to click on to access some free NFTs or crypto, only for them to gain access to your computer and steal you dry.

You need to be able to spot these attacks from a mile away. Granted, sometimes they are too well-designed and impossible to spot. But most of the time, you really can spot them. You should be able to tell that the chances of the real Joe Biden or Elon Musk asking you to send him some Bitcoin so he can double it are close to zero.


Crypto is changing the world and how we interact with the financial system; from payments to investments. This is even more true in countries like Singapore, where the government has embraced cryptos as a way to further solidify the status of the country as a financial hub for Asia and the wider global markets. 

Hence, there will never be a better time than now to jump on the moving train and begin to actively invest in building your crypto holdings and your knowledge of the markets.

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