Investors Concerned about Singapore Regulators’ Hard Stance on Crypto

In the last few years, Singapore has been one of the top countries leading the cryptocurrency and blockchain revolution. However, this has not stopped the MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) from regulating the industry. On Monday, it published a set of guidelines that dictated that trading cryptocurrencies are highly unsuitable and risky for the general public.

It ordered all crypto businesses in the country to stop advertising and promoting their offerings to retail investors, both virtually and physically. While compliance with these recommendations is not mandatory but comes after a number of companies that wanted to set up platforms in the country were turned down.

Changing stance in Singapore

While crypto businesses in Singapore are seeking guidance and clarity from the country’s authorities, KPMG Singapore’s head of financial services, Anton Ruddenklau said that crypto and blockchain are good investments for this year.

This is a direct contract to the statement of the MAS about curtailing advertisements of digital payment tokens to the general public. When it comes to non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the MAS directly said that it does not consider them suitable for investments and has no intention of regulating them in the country.

There are 63 businesses that are currently offering digital payment token services and they are doing so without a license. The MAS website clarified that there were 109 businesses that had been granted an exception previously, but this was no longer the case.

Binance withdraws

The world’s largest crypto exchange due to its trading volumes, Binance had also applied for a license in Singapore. But, in December last year, it announced that it was withdrawing the said application. This was also a hint of the changing stance of the regulatory authorities in Singapore. Nonetheless, it has not stopped Binance from taking advantage of the market. The exchange announced that it was transforming its Singapore operation into a platform for blockchain innovation.

Increasing regulation

The regulatory authority in Singapore made it illegal for crypto service providers in the country to advertise their offerings in public in January. This meant that they cannot use radio, print, public websites, or social media for this purpose. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is also trying to expand its own ability to control crypto operations.

New guidelines had been announced back in April, which required companies to apply for licenses and to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) policies. Moreover, the country is also planning on looking into the public chain tokenization of crypto assets.

Singapore had attracted the attention of many crypto businesses because of its crypto-friendly reputation and low taxes. The Mojaloop Foundation unveiled a Center of Excellence (COE) on Tuesday. This is aimed at developing a central bank digital currency (CBDC), something that a number of countries are looking into. They believe that a state-backed alternative is a better option than the other digital currencies available in the market because those are very risky. The recent crash in the crypto market has also resulted in countries speeding up their efforts.

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