Singapore Central Bank Probes Crypto Outlets Ahead of Regulatory Overhaul

Updated by Geraint Price
In Brief
  • Singapore’s central bank is requesting information from cryptocurrency firms.
  • By collecting information, the MAS hopes to understand their financial soundness and interconnectedness.
  • Regulatory changes are expected promptly for the local crypto industry, following the collapse of several high-profile enterprises operating there.
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The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is surveying cryptocurrency-related firms operating in the city-state ahead of a planned regulatory overhaul. 

The MAS issued a questionnaire to various applicants and holders of its digital-payments license, according to anonymous Bloomberg sources. Having sent out the questions over the past month, the authority said responses were expected promptly.

Singapore bank launches survey

With the survey, the MAS hopes to gauge the interconnectedness and financial soundness of cryptocurrency firms under its jurisdiction. Consequently, it is seeking rather specific information about their business activity and holdings. 

A spreadsheet sent to the firms reveals that the regulator is seeking data related to everything from the top tokens owned by the firms, and the top lending and borrowing counterparties they dealt with, to the different amounts loaned out, and the top tokens staked through decentralized finance protocols. 

To better understand the risks associated with initiating a cryptocurrency exchange, the MAS is also soliciting information from local crypto exchanges. Once an exchange receives a coveted digital payment token service license, the regulator wants to understand the necessary processes it will undertake to go live. So far, the regulator has awarded just over 10 permits out of nearly 200 applicants.

Crypto regime overhaul

The moves come ahead of an anticipated overhaul of the cryptocurrency regulatory regime in Singapore, as the city-state tries to mitigate the recent fallout from several collapsing firms. Having already made the industry aware that the scope of the regulations would broaden to cover more activities, MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon said the tensions would be addressed next week.

“Licensees and applicants are expected to notify the MAS of any events that materially impede or impair the operations of the entity, including any matter which may affect its solvency or ability to meet its financial, statutory, contractual or other obligations,” said a MAS spokesperson.

The city-state’s regulatory regime for cryptocurrencies has come under particular scrutiny recently, due to the recent default of several entities with key operations in the city-state. These include the collapse of hedge fund Three Arrows Capital and platforms Zipmex, Hodlnaut and Vauld.

The interconnected collapse of these companies underscored the lack of extensive risk management rules for digital asset companies in Singapore.


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