In this era of increasing digitization, a growing number of individuals prefer to conduct cashless transactions, finalizing them via online payment services and digital wallets. The rise in usage of digital wallets is partly driven by a collective effort from mobile service providers, card issuers, and merchants who promote and accept digital wallet payments. Mostly, digital wallets are gaining tremendous adoption across the globe with users preferring them for their ability to securely store credit card, debit card, and alternative forms of payment information in one digital purse. Moreover, they can be used to pay for goods and services online, within mobile apps, and in person at physical stores that accept mobile digital payments.

Through digital wallets, users can pay without the need to share their credit card details, name, home address, or any relevant personal information with their merchants. Furthermore, unlike physical fiat currency, the chances of misplacing or losing a digital wallet are potentially less likely (depending on what kind of digital wallet you have of course). Convenience coupled with the fact that digital wallets offer quick, easy, and secure payment services, make them highly appealing to residents around the world, including Singaporeans. As more and more people adopt them across the globe, Singapore continues to establish itself as a global leader in both promoting and fostering digital wallet payment technology.

Singapore’s Stance towards Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology

Historically, Singapore has always been considered the financial epicenter of Southeast Asia. Today, it’s gradually becoming the blockchain and cryptocurrency hub of the greater Asian region. Compared to other developed nations, Singaporean authorities are way ahead concerning their understanding of the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry and their intentions for the future. Their choices and regulations towards blockchain and the cryptocurrency industry are well-informed and more transparent than any other state in the world (it would seem). The MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) specifically stood out for presenting a clear view of the cryptocurrency environment and reinforcing the state’s decision to embrace digital currencies and develop blockchain technology as part of their economy.

As early as 2013, the MAS articulated that they had no intentions of interfering in any transactions or commercial decisions related to Bitcoin. Even though MAS has been extremely vocal about the risks associated with digital currencies over the years, they have not set forth any regulations limiting the use of digital currencies. MAS treats digital currency transactions as barter transactions when they are used for buying goods. This decision is in line with their choice to not restrict blockchain or cryptocurrencies in the country.

Digital Wallets in Singapore

Once an inactive fishing town, the city-state island of Singapore has grown to become a thriving tech hub in the heart of Southeast Asia. According to the 2017 Global Innovation Index, Singapore was ranked as the most innovative country in Asia. The Bloomberg Innovation Index further classified Singapore as position three globally, reinforcing its status as a world-class tech destination for firms worldwide. About 80 of the top 100 technology firms in the world have their presence in Singapore. Their presence in the country is mostly attributed to the fact that Singapore has one of the most technologically advanced IT infrastructures in the world.

With such an established technological infrastructure, it’s no wonder that about 60% of all transactions in Singapore are made electronically. According to a survey conducted by Visa, about 87% of Singaporeans prefer to make electronic payments instead of using cash. This is primarily attributed to Singapore’s goal of becoming a cashless economy. According to J.D. Power, more than 26% of debit and credit cardholders in Singapore now use mobile digital wallets such as Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Wallet, and Apple Pay. Singapore was the first state in Southeast Asia to have Samsung Pay, the second in Asia to get Apple Pay, and the third globally, after Britain and the U.S., to acquire Android Pay. 

Not to mention, the use of mobile payments is currently on the rise, growing by about 53% since last year. This rate is significantly higher compared to that of the U.S. (43%) and Australia (14%). Furthermore, locally made digital wallets are also on the rise, with the recently introduced DBS PayLah leading the pack. The DBS Paylah digital wallet enables the user the ability to receive or pay funds via the use of QR codes. Another popular local e-wallet is Singtel Dash that offers mobile payments and remittances services.

The Cryptocurrency Landscape in Singapore

The country’s favorable stance towards cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology has made it one of the most crypto-friendly states in the world. The country has a bustling cryptocurrency market, primarily attributed to its favorable business environment and reliable technological infrastructure. Because of this, major financial institutions are investing time and resources in blockchain initiatives aimed at keeping these institutions relevant in this fast-changing domain. For instance, local Singaporean banks such as UOB, DBS, and OCBC have all participated in the proof of concept for the Project Ubin that was developed by R3. Due to these kinds of initiatives, more merchants are making a move towards accepting digital currencies as payment methods both offline and online.

The growing use of digital wallets in the country has enabled residents to pay for goods and services using digital currencies. A few local merchants that accept both online and cryptocurrency payments include:

  • Ducatus Café
  • Skyline Club
  • ButtonsUp
  • Coin Republic
  • Games Garage
  • Kokee Delights
  • Bullion Star
  • Shiok Kitchen

This too has led to the growth of several cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. Some of these include:

  • Belfrics
  • Coinhako
  • GDAX
  • BitMEX
  • Binance
  • EToro
  • Coinmama
  • CEX.iO

Conclusion

As history indicates, fortune favors the bold, and Singapore has been nothing short of brave in its quest to become a global blockchain epicenter. Furthermore, if the boom of technology companies during the 2000’s is proof enough, then early blockchain and cryptocurrency players will be more likely to have a competitive advantage over their competitors. Judging by Singapore’s recent moves in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space, the state is poised to become the blockchain capital of the world. In case you’re in the market for a digital wallet, we highly recommend that you check out our Blockchains.My (BCMY) digital wallet app.