Cryptocurrency is any type of virtual currency that uses cryptography to secure its transactions and control the generation of new units. The system is decentralized, so it is not controlled by a government or financial institution. The most well-known cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, but many other types of cryptocurrency have been developed over the years.
Cryptocurrency is not legal in many countries and is often traded in unregulated digital exchanges. Nonetheless, cryptocurrency has become increasingly popular in Singapore in recent years, with its government recognizing it rather than shunning it. As a result, it is easier to buy crypto assets here.
In this detailed guide, you’ll learn everything about buying cryptocurrency in Singapore.
The State of Cryptocurrency in Singapore
Being a technologically advanced nation, Singapore views cryptocurrency with an open mind. Singapore’s central bank, The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has also supported cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, making it a home to several Bitcoin and Ethereum exchanges.
There is promising growth for cryptocurrency here as Singapore looks to become a leading fintech hub in Asia. According to a 2021 survey of 40,645 residents across 22 countries, Singapore has the 6th highest rate of cryptocurrency ownership.
Is Cryptocurrency in Singapore Legal?
The MAS has stated that it does not view cryptocurrency as a legal tender. Still, it is open to the idea of using blockchain technology for payments and other financial services.
This stance by the MAS has helped to create a friendly environment for cryptocurrency companies to set up shop in Singapore. In fact, many major cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase and Gemini have offices in Singapore.
However, early this year, the MAS released guidelines that discourage financial institutions from promoting their cryptocurrency services due to the high risks involved in trading cryptocurrencies.
This means cryptocurrency providers cannot advertise through means except on their own portals (websites, apps, and the like). In line with this, the MAS ordered the shutdown of cryptocurrency ATMs stationed across Singapore’s malls.
Even though cryptocurrency is not considered legal tender, Singapore still views cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as goods. Therefore, it applies the Goods and Services Tax, Singapore’s version of the value-added tax.
Singapore’s Rules on Cryptocurrency
Singapore allows cryptocurrency service providers to operate in the country under strict rules and regulations. Under the Payment Services Act (PSA), cryptocurrency exchanges and any other cryptocurrency business must secure an operating license from the MAS.
Singapore has expanded its rules further with The Financial Services and Markets Bill (FSM). This new law allows the MAS to further mitigate the risks of anti-money laundering and terrorism financing by including regulations on local cryptocurrency service providers that deal with business overseas.
Why Buy Cryptocurrency in Singapore?
If you are lucky to be living in Singapore, a country that is relatively friendly towards cryptocurrency, you might have thought about getting into the crypto-verse once or twice. If you are still having doubts, here are several great reasons to start owning cryptocurrency assets.
- They offer an alternative to traditional fiat currencies, which can be subject to political instability and inflation.
- Cryptocurrencies are digital and global, making them convenient and easy to use.
- They offer greater privacy than traditional payment methods, such as credit cards or bank transfers.
- Cryptocurrency transactions are also often cheaper and faster than traditional methods such as wire transfers.
- Many cryptocurrencies have a limited supply, which can lead to price appreciation if demand increases.
- Cryptocurrency can be used to purchase goods and services online without the need for third parties like banks or credit card companies.
- Cryptocurrency is stored in a digital wallet and can be easily transferred anywhere in the world.
What You Need to Buy Cryptocurrency in Singapore
While there are benefits to buying cryptocurrency, it is not for the faint-hearted. Before you start investing in such, you need to consider these important tips:
- Do your own research. Understand that cryptocurrency is a highly volatile market, so it is vital to know the risks that come with it. Getting into cryptocurrency without fully knowing the consequences can spell financial disaster on your end.
- Get a digital wallet to store your cryptocurrency. A digital wallet provides a secure way to store different cryptocurrencies. There are two types:
- Hot wallet – This is a software or application you can access on your computer or mobile device and is connected to the Internet. Since it is web-based, it is easier for users to transfer cryptocurrencies to and from an exchange. However, this also makes it vulnerable to hackers.
- Cold wallet – This is a physical device that stores your cryptocurrencies offline and is not connected to the Internet. It is considered more secure since it cannot be hacked remotely. However, it can be lost or stolen if someone physically has access to it.
- Join a cryptocurrency exchange. There are many popular and safe exchanges that will allow you to buy and sell cryptocurrencies in Singapore. Each has its own key features, like low trading fees and the number of cryptocurrencies supported. Take the time to study them and see which features suit you best.
- Choose the right cryptocurrency to invest in. Although people are most familiar with Bitcoin, there are many other cryptocurrencies that you can choose from, each with its own value. In general, alternative cryptocurrencies, or altcoins, have a higher risk but also a higher percentage gain.
Payment Methods for Buying Cryptocurrency in Singapore
Different payment methods are available for buying cryptocurrency. See them below and check which ones you find most convenient:
- Credit/Debit Card: You can buy cryptocurrency with a credit or debit card. This is the simplest and quickest way to buy crypto, but it’s also the most expensive. Credit and debit card purchases are often subject to higher fees than other payment methods.
- Online Payment Services: Another popular payment method is online payment services like PayPal or Skrill. These can be used to buy cryptocurrency on some exchanges. Again, check if your exchange accepts this form of payment if you need it.
- Wire Transfer: You can also use a wire transfer to buy cryptocurrency. This is a direct bank-to-bank transfer and is often the preferred payment method for larger purchases. Some exchanges may require you to verify your identity before allowing you to use this payment method.
- Cryptocurrency: You can also buy cryptocurrency with another cryptocurrency. This is called “trading” and can be done on cryptocurrency exchanges. If you want to buy cryptocurrency with another cryptocurrency, you’ll need to create an account on a crypto exchange.
- Cash: You can also buy cryptocurrency with cash. This is called “peer-to-peer” (P2P) trading and can be done on P2P exchanges. P2P exchanges match buyers and sellers of cryptocurrency and allow them to trade directly.
When buying cryptocurrency on an exchange, there are different fees involved. Part of choosing the best exchange for you is researching what fees are covered by these providers.
Here are the fees that you should know:
- Exchange Fees: Exchange fees are typically a percentage of the total transaction value and vary from exchange to exchange.
- Transaction Fees: Transaction fees are paid to the network that processes and confirms the transaction. For Bitcoin, the transaction fee is paid to miners who confirm transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain.
- Deposit Fees: Some exchanges may charge a fee for deposits made with certain methods, such as bank transfers.
- Withdrawal Fees: Withdrawal fees are charged by exchanges when you withdraw cryptocurrency from your account on the exchange. These fees vary depending on the exchange and the cryptocurrency being withdrawn.
How to Buy Cryptocurrency in Singapore – Step by Step
- Set up an account on the crypto exchange of your choice.
- Verify your account by providing personal identification documents such as your passport or ID.
- Deposit cash into your account via payment methods supported by the exchange.
- Start buying and selling cryptocurrencies. Note that each exchange has different rules, so be sure to check before signing up.
- After buying cryptocurrency assets, don’t forget to store them in your digital wallet.
The Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges in Singapore
The most popular and accessible way to buy cryptocurrency in Singapore is through an online cryptocurrency exchange. There are many cryptocurrency exchanges in Singapore, but some of these exchanges, such as Binance, have shut down because of Singapore’s new rules.
Currently, here are the best exchanges to buy cryptocurrency in Singapore:
Crypto.com is a global exchange that operates in Singapore. It supports over 250 cryptocurrencies, including its own native token, Cronos (CRO). Since its 2016 launch, the fintech company has expanded rapidly and now has more than 10 million customers worldwide. It’s a great all-around crypto exchange that lets you buy, sell, and trade.
Crypto.com is also the first fintech company to receive the Singapore Data Protection Trust Mark (DPTM), an enterprise-wide certification awarded by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IDMA).
- Wide range of currencies available – Users can trade over 250+ cryptocurrencies.
- Deposits are free – No deposit fees are charged on Crypto.com.
- Earn interest – Crypto.com lets you earn up to 14.5% on your cryptocurrencies.
- Allows NFT trading – A recently added NFT marketplace within Crypto.com allows users to buy and sell NFTs.
- Cash back rewards with a Visa card
- Strong cyber security
- Lowest interest rates are better than high-yield savings accounts
- Not beginner-friendly
- Slow customer service
- Lack of educational resources
- 0.4% trading fee
Coinhako is another Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange, and it was founded in 2014. It allows users to buy, sell, and store digital assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and XRP. Coinhako is one of the most user-friendly exchanges in operation, offering a simple interface and easy navigation. The exchange allows users to buy cryptocurrencies with fiat currencies such as the Singapore dollar (SGD).
Coinhako is also one of the first few exchanges in Singapore to be granted a Major Payment Institution (MPI) License by the MAS, allowing it to provide Digital Payment Token (DPT) services.
- User-friendly platform – Coinhako’s platform is easily understandable, even for users who aren’t tech-savvy.
- Supports popular cryptocurrencies – Aside from Bitcoin, Coinhako gives access to Ethereum, Litecoin, Cardano, and Neo.
- Debit/credit card support – Users can buy crypto assets with just a swipe of a card on Coinhako.
- Attractive rewards program – Coinhako gives users login rewards, seasonal bundles, and points from trading.
- Seamless bank transfers
- Fast customer service
- Convenient for Singaporean traders
- Limited number of cryptocurrencies
- High trading fees
- Suffered a security breach in 2020
- 1% trading fee
- 3% processing fee for credit/debit cards
- No deposit fees
Zipmex is a cryptocurrency exchange founded in 2018 and has operations in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Australia. It allows users to buy and sell over 40 currencies, including popular digital assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and XRP. It’s a well-recommended platform for traders in the Asia-Pacific region because of its simple system.
- User-friendly platform – Zipmex’s intuitive platform makes it ideal for beginners in Singapore.
- Supports SGD – Zipmex allows fiat pairings for USD and SGD.
- Operates 24/7 – Users can trade on Zipmex around the clock, and the platform has an impressive architecture to support that.
- Accessible educational content – Zipmex’s help center and chat support offer easy ways to learn about cryptocurrency.
- 24/7 trading
- High withdrawal fees
- 0.3% bank transfer fee
- 0.2% trading fee
Coinbase is among the most popular and longest-running cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. It is also the first cryptocurrency platform to be listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Coinbase has revolutionized the crypto space with its user-friendly interface that allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, as well as store them in a wallet on the site. It also offers a mobile app for Android and iOS devices, making it convenient to trade on the go.
Coinbase Singapore is one of the exchanges that was granted a licensing exemption by the MAS under the Payment Services Act (PSA).
- Wide range of cryptocurrencies – Coinbase allows access to over 170 cryptocurrencies.
- User-friendly platform – Coinbase has a highly intuitive platform that caters to inexperienced traders.
- Coinbase Wallet available – Coinbase has its own digital wallet feature where users can store their assets.
- Strong cyber security and crime insurance – Coinbase has no record of security breaches and also carries crime insurance that protects cryptocurrencies in their storage systems.
- Very safe to use
- Flexible payment methods
- Wide range of cryptocurrencies
- Complicated fees (depends on factors like location and payment method)
- 0.99% processing fee
- 0.6% trading fee
Gemini is a US-based digital asset exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins in 2015. The Gemini exchange allows users to buy, sell, and store cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Zcash, and more. The platform is designed for both novice and experienced investors, with support for both web and mobile.
- Earn high interest – With Gemini Earn, users can get up to 8.05% APY on more than 40 cryptocurrencies.
- Simple interface – Gemini’s platform is easy on the eyes and has straightforward navigation.
- 24/7 customer support – Gemini has active chat support available.
- Educational resources available – Gemini improved its Help Center with organized help sections and enhanced search function.
- Free deposits and withdrawals
- Support for multiple fiat currencies
- No account minimum
- High trading fees compared to others
- Doesn’t support all popular cryptocurrencies
- 0.9% trading fee
Kraken is a US-based exchange that has been operational since 2011. It is one of the oldest and most well-respected crypto exchanges in the industry.
The platform supports over 50 cryptocurrencies and provides features such as margin and futures trading, staking, and OTC desk services. Kraken also has strong security measures in place, including two-factor authentication and a MasterKey.
There are two options to choose from: Kraken and Kraken Pro. The latter offers more advantages in regards to fees, fiat currencies, and more.
- Wide range of cryptocurrencies – Kraken allows access to over 120 cryptocurrencies.
- Advanced security features – Kraken has strict security measures in place, like two-factor email authentication for withdrawals and API key mission control.
- Margin and futures trading – Kraken is one of the few exchanges to offer leverage trading for advanced traders.
- Reputable and trusted platform – Having been around for a long time, Kraken has achieved global trust.
- Accessible educational content
- Attractive features for seasoned traders
- Cannot transact in SGD
- Not beginner-friendly
- 0.5% online banking processing fee
- Deposit and withdrawal fees vary
Luno is a cryptocurrency exchange established in 2013. It lets users buy, sell, and store Bitcoin and Ethereum. The company also has an app that allows users to track the prices of cryptocurrencies and make transactions on the go.
Luno is one of the few exchanges that offer 24/7 customer support. The exchange was recently granted in-principle approval by the MAS to provide cryptocurrency services in Singapore.
- Supports multiple fiat currencies – Luno provides support for eight fiat currencies, including SGD, AUD, EUR, and GBP.
- Mobile app – Luno’s mobile app gives a convenient option for cryptocurrency users on the go.
- User-friendly platform – Luno has a simple interface with no complicated functions.
- Low fees – Luno’s fees are lower than that of major cryptocurrency players.
- Easy switching between fiat and cryptocurrencies
- Limited range of cryptocurrencies
- 0.75% trading fee
- 2 SGD bank transfer fee
KuCoin is one of the newer cryptocurrency exchanges in the market, having only launched in September 2017. However, it has already gained a loyal following among crypto enthusiasts due to its low trading fees, wide selection of altcoins, and strong security measures. KuCoin also offers a mobile app for trading on the go.
- Over 190 cryptocurrrencies – KuCoin is popularly known to support a vast range of alternative cryptocurrencies.
- Different ways for passive income – KuCoin offers several options for users to earn passive income, including lending, loyalty tokens, and staking.
- Low fees – KuCoin has relatively low trading fees compared to other exchanges.
- Great for altcoin investors
- Low trading fees
- Earn interest
- Performance slows during high traffic
- Limited payment methods
- Not licensed in the U.S.
- 0.1% trading fee
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a cryptocurrency exchange?
A cryptocurrency exchange is a digital platform that allows you to buy, sell, or trade cryptocurrencies. Depending on the exchange, you can buy crypto assets in Singapore dollars (SGD) or other currencies like US dollars (USD). Many exchanges have different trading fees.
What is blockchain technology?
A blockchain is a digital, decentralized, public ledger that stores transactions in a distributed network. The ledger is constantly growing as “completed” blocks are added to it with each new transaction. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data.
What is fiat currency?
Fiat currency is the term used to distinguish regular money from cryptocurrency. Simply put, fiat currency is a government-issued legal tender, like the Singapore dollar. On the other hand, cryptocurrency is a digital asset that uses cryptography to secure its transactions and control the creation of new units. Thus, it is free from government manipulation.
What is leverage trading?
Leverage trading is a trading approach that allows you to maximize your profits and increase your buying power. One common way to use leverage is to trade on margin. This means that you can borrow money from your broker to trade with. For example, if you want to buy $100 worth of a cryptocurrency but only have $10 in your account, you can ask your broker to lend you the remaining $90. However, do note that while leverage trading can result in high rewards, it also involves high risks and can amplify your losses too.
What is an altcoin?
An altcoin refers to any digital currency other than Bitcoin. There are over 17,000 different altcoins available on the market, with new ones being created all the time. Altcoins can be traded on cryptocurrency exchanges and often have their own dedicated wallets.
What is NFT?
NFT stands for non-fungible token. It is a unique piece of data that redirects you to a particular location on the Internet. This address would often contain an image, video, or GIF, that NFT enthusiasts would consider as art. NFTs are programmed on a blockchain just like cryptocurrencies. But unlike cryptocurrencies, NFTs cannot be exchanged or traded with equal values due to the unique digital signature embedded in each one. Because of the growing popularity of NFTs, some online exchanges have enabled NFT support.
Is Binance available in Singapore?
Binance is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Because of the government’s implementation of FSM, Binance Singapore withdrew its license application and subsequently shut down its operations last February 2022.
Are Bitcoin ATMs available in Singapore?
Bitcoin ATMs refer to cash-to-crypto terminals installed in various public areas. Due to the MAS’s new guidelines on banning public advertisements involving crypto services, Bitcoin ATMs in Singapore were shut down and are currently not operational since early 2022.