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MAS Chief Minister Asks Firms to Discourage Retail Crypto Trading

2 mins
Updated by Ryan Boltman
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In Brief

  • The MAS in Singapore has told domestic businesses to discourage retail investors from trading in crypto.
  • Key financial institutions have no exposure to distressed companies like 3AC.
  • The MAS is busy developing a central bank digital currency.
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The Monetary Authority of Singapore has encouraged financial companies to discourage cryptocurrency trading.

Responding to a question in parliament on Aug. 1, 2022, concerning licensing of digital payment token providers, the minister in charge of the MAS said that the government agency had reached a consensus with international regulators that the sector needs greater oversight.

Tharman Shanmugaratnam added that the MAS would be consulting on its preliminary crypto framework in the coming months.

MAS ‘treading cautiously’

Shanmugaratnam reiterated that the MAS is still treading cautiously concerning cryptocurrencies and discourages the participation of retail investors in trading, citing crypto’s “hazardous” nature.

This stance echoes sentiments expressed by the MAS in Jan. 2022, when it discouraged speculation by retail investors on assets it deemed too volatile. It also closed down crypto ATMs.

On the recent collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin and the current lending crisis that has seen many notable firms, including Celsius, Babel Finance, and Three Arrows Capital, capitulate, the minister said that the broader Singaporean economy is safe from any spillover into traditional markets. He noted that no critical institutions in the city-state have exposure to any distressed companies. Embattled hedge fund Three Arrows capital hails from Singapore and recently filed for bankruptcy. The CEO of Terraform Labs, the creator of the TerraUSD stablecoin, is reportedly living in Singapore and has been asked to notify South Korean authorities when he returns to the country.

Hard times for crypto in Singapore

In a report by the Financial Times, the chief fintech officer at the MAS vowed to take an unrelenting stance against bad behavior in the crypto industry.

Binance and Bybit recently exited Singapore in the face of progressively draconian measures imposed by the MAS.

Conversely, Crypto.com has received in-principle approval to operate in Singapore. It is also allowed to do business in Dubai.

The chief fintech officer at the MAS, Sopnendu Mohanty, said he expects a central-bank digital currency to be issued within three years. In the last week of June, the MAS co-launched a research center to work on the development of a CBDC as it seeks to pull customers away from crypto enterprises.

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David Thomas
David Thomas graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, with an Honors degree in electronic engineering. He worked as an engineer for eight years, developing software for industrial processes at South African automation specialist Autotronix (Pty) Ltd., mining control systems for AngloGold Ashanti, and consumer products at Inhep Digital Security, a domestic security company wholly owned by Swedish conglomerate Assa Abloy. He has experience writing software in C,...
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