Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, expanded its broadening unilateral financial measures against Russia by including cryptocurrency exchanges and services.
The move is the latest from the island nation to prevent Russia from exploiting loopholes in the financial sanctions imposed against it. The MAS said the ban now includes all financial institutions inside the city-state.
A Bloomberg report states that the measures include finance companies, banks, capital market intermediaries, insurers, payment service providers, and security exchanges. In a statement, the central bank said cryptocurrency services and providers are now also banned from engaging in crypto transactions to Russia.
The latest move comes a day after the central bank announced new guidelines on cryptocurrency trading.
“MAS has consistently warned the public that investing in cryptocurrencies is highly risky as investment products and not suitable for the general public. Singapore is not alone in holding this view — some jurisdictions have also taken measures in relation to advertising by crypto firms,” an MAS spokesman said in an interview.
Concerns that Russia could use cryptocurrencies quickly emerged hours after launching “special military operations” in Ukraine. But many nations responded swiftly and added cryptocurrencies to the list of targetted financial sanctions.
The European Commission stated on March 9 that it had added crypto assets to the list of sanctions, describing them as “transferable securities.”
The EU statement said, “These amendments create a closer alignment of EU sanctions regarding Russia and Belarus and will help to ensure even more effectively that Russian sanctions cannot be circumvented, including through Belarus.”
Earlier, the Swiss federal government ordered a freeze against crypto assets owned by Russian enterprises and individuals within the Swiss borders. The Swiss finance ministry said the order is intended to protect the integrity of the Swiss blockchain space. Switzerland and its neighbor Liechtenstein are well-established crypto hubs and are home to approximately 1,128 blockchain companies.
Japan and South Korea have also banned cryptocurrency transactions involving Russian companies and individuals.
Japanese legislators have asked crypto exchanges to cooperate in the sanctions versus Russia. In contrast, South Korean exchanges, including Gopax, Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit, have blocked Russian Internet Protocols (IP) to prevent Russian account holders from liquidating their crypto holdings.
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