Monetary Authority of Singapore Guidelines Shutter Crypto ATMs

Updated by Ryan James
In Brief
  • Automated teller machines (ATMs) that trade in cryptocurrency are being shut down across Singapore, in the wake of a ban on crypto ads for the general public.
  • The guidelines also targeted the use of these ATMs, saying they may cause individuals to buy crypto “on impulse.”
  • Singapore’s authorities are not alone in attempting to reign in wayward advertising.
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Automated teller machines (ATMs) that trade in cryptocurrency are being shut down across Singapore, in the wake of a ban on crypto ads for the general public.

Earlier this week, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued new guidelines for cryptocurrency promotion, in an effort to limit exposure to the general public. However, crypto ATMs provide a convenient platform for users to exchange fiat currency for digital payment tokens (DPT), like Bitcoin and Ethereum. For this reason, the guidelines also targeted the use of these ATMs, saying they may cause individuals to buy crypto “on impulse.”

Daenerys & Co., Singapore’s largest operator of crypto ATMs, shut down all five of its machines in order to comply with the MAS request. Daenerys said that the speed with which the machines were shut down following the publication of the new guidelines came as an “unexpected surprise.” Meanwhile, rival crypto ATM operator Deodi Pte also said on its website that it had shut down its sole ATM to comply with the guidelines.

Crypto ad bans

Singapore has been working to position itself as a global hub for the development of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Its efforts to create a clear regulatory and operating environment, including a formal licensing framework, have drawn crypto companies from around the world. However, authorities are still trying to balance the benefits that come with financial innovation with the risks posed to retail traders by the volatile virtual assets.

“MAS strongly encourages the development of blockchain technology and innovative application of crypto tokens in value-adding use cases,” said MAS Assistant Managing Director (Policy, Payments and Financial Crime) Loo Siew Yee. “But the trading of cryptocurrencies is highly risky and not suitable for the general public.” To preclude exposure to the general public, the guidelines also clarified that DPT services should not be promoted in public areas or through third-party engagement, such as social media influencers.

Singapore’s authorities are not alone in attempting to reign in wayward advertising. Regulators in both Spain and the United Kingdom took issue with crypto ads issued within their jurisdiction this past week.

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