Crypto-friendly Singapore plans strict regulations amid global upheaval


Amid the global crypto meltdown, Singapore, which has a clear licensing and regulatory framework, is going to act tough on crypto platforms in the coming months, a top Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) executive said on Tuesday.

MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon said that the key lesson from the upheaval in the global crypto industry is clear: Investing in cryptocurrencies is highly risky.

"MAS and relevant government agencies will take firm enforcement action if any entity is found to be conducting illegal activities or performing regulated activities without a license," he said after releasing the central bank's annual report.

Menon said that reviews and public consultations are underway, among international standard-setting bodies and regulators, to strengthen regulation in the crypto areas.

"MAS is targeting to consult on proposed measures in the next few months," he added.

Governments the world over, including in India, are planning tough action against cryptocurrencies as the crypto world faces heightened uncertainties.

In India, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in the Lok Sabha on Monday that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recommended framing of regulations for cryptocurrencies.

The Indian government wants an international collaboration if such a ban has to be put into effect, said Sitharaman.

Menon said that some crypto players that have come under strain have been reported by the media as being "Singapore-based".

"In reality, these so-called 'Singapore-based' crypto firms have little to do with crypto-related regulation in Singapore," he mentioned.

"Vauld is currently not licensed by MAS nor has it sought any exemption from holding a licence under the Payment Services Act. It has submitted a licence application, which is pending review," Menon informed.

The crypto industry globally is still evolving and regulation is still catching up with industry trends.

MAS has sent repeated warnings against retail investments in cryptocurrencies.

Next month, the authority will organise a dedicated seminar to share its strategies to develop Singapore as a digital asset hub.

"We will explain our position on cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, blockchains, tokenisation, smart contracts and digital assets, etc -- their risks and opportunities; shortcomings and potential," said Menon.

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