Crypto license in Asia

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Many companies are considering the Asian region for registering a cryptocurrency startup. Today, Central and Southeast Asian countries are among the leaders in digitalization. However, these jurisdictions have different legislative frameworks for regulating the cryptocurrency industry — while some countries either completely or partially prohibit cryptocurrencies, others are actively working to define the legal status of cryptocurrencies. They engage in developing their own digital currencies, registering cryptocurrency exchanges, and offering favorable conditions for foreign investors to launch crypto businesses.

If you are at the stage of choosing a jurisdiction for starting a crypto project, we recommend acquainting yourself with the specifics of crypto trading regulations in Asia.

Cryptocurrency Regulation in Asia

Despite the increasing scale of cryptocurrency usage, regulators approach Asia crypto regulations differently. Many regulatory bodies aim to create a legal framework for legalizing virtual assets by enacting regulatory acts to enhance control over all market participants — financial service providers and users. When registering crypto companies, it’s necessary to consider the legal aspects of each country’s legislative framework.

Cryptocurrency Legal Framework in Asia — Jurisdiction Differences

  • The Monetary Authority of Singapore, in the “Payment Services Act,” distinguishes two types of payment licenses available in this jurisdiction: Standard Payment Institution and Major Payment Institution.
  • In Japan, the “Payment Services Act” recognizes cryptocurrencies and utility tokens [BTC, ETH, etc.] as “crypto-assets.” Stablecoins, expressed in currency [USDC and USDT], are regulated as “electronic payment instruments.” Business operators involved in buying, selling, or exchanging crypto-assets (and acting as intermediaries in such activities) or managing crypto-assets on behalf of others must register as crypto asset service providers. Those dealing with stablecoins (similarly buying, selling, or exchanging, or managing on behalf of others) must register as Electronic Payment Instruments Exchange Service Providers.
  • The UAE issues cryptocurrency licenses through the local regulator, the Securities and Commodities Authority. It mandates all Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) to apply for registration, except for licensees operating within free economic zones.
  • In Kazakhstan, cryptocurrency companies operate under the Digital Assets Law that came into effect in 2023. Cryptocurrency licenses are issued by the International Financial Center “Astana” [IFCA].
  • Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission categorizes all cryptocurrencies as “virtual commodities.” Requirements for crypto companies are stipulated in anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.
  • In Malaysia, the Securities Commission’s “Digital Currency and Digital Token Order” classifies digital currencies as securities. Therefore, cryptocurrency exchanges in this jurisdiction must obtain a license as a market participant in securities.

If you intend to launch a crypto project in Asian countries, we recommend using the services of SBSB Fintech Lawyers. Our main areas of expertise are FinTech and Crypto. We provide comprehensive legal support — from consultation and choosing the optimal jurisdiction considering the project’s specifics and Asia Blockchain Laws to preparing necessary documents and initiating business operations post-licensing.

Advantages of Asian Digital Currency License

By choosing jurisdictions like Singapore, Hong Kong, or the UAE for Digital Currency Authorization in Asia, licensees gain the ability to:

  • work with financial institutions worldwide;
  • offer a wide range of cryptocurrency services to clients;
  • operate within the Asian region — one of the world’s largest.

Among the advantages of working with Asian jurisdictions are stable economies in countries, favorable taxation, and crypto-friendly conditions for the registration and operation of crypto companies.

Regulator Requirements for Digital Asset License in Asia

Blockchain Licensing in Asia is regulated differently in each country, but some common criteria applicants must meet include:

  • official company registration in the chosen jurisdiction;
  • physical or virtual office presence;
  • residents in managerial positions;
  • appointment of Compliance and AML officers;
  • adherence to KYC procedures.

Regulators consider the cryptocurrency market vulnerable since virtual assets can be used for money laundering or terrorist financing. Therefore, one of the main requirements for obtaining a cryptocurrency license is compliance with Asian cryptocurrency compliance regulations. This includes strict adherence to legislative requirements, including the implementation of AML and KYC policies, ensuring platform user security. SBSB lawyers develop individual AML and KYC policies for each project, enabling companies to comply with regulatory rules and documents while earning trust from clients and partners, which positively impacts long-term reputation.

Choosing the Right Jurisdiction for Registering Crypto Business in Asia

Reach out to SBSB Fintech Lawyers, and you’ll receive comprehensive legal support at every stage of obtaining an Asian digital Currency License. Our team helps you select the optimal jurisdiction considering the country’s legislation and the specifics of your project. We assist clients at all stages — registering a company in the chosen country, opening bank accounts, and preparing a document package for obtaining permission. Contact us, and we will address any questions you may have!


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Ivan Nevzorov

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