Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), is reportedly working on a new set of rules to protect the interests of cryptocurrency investors in its country. This information has come out from an official of MAS, and it suggests that country’s existing cryptocurrency regulatory framework doesn’t seem robust enough to its authorities.
The new rules will focus specifically on investor protection – nothing else. Singapore already has a regulatory framework that takes care of other areas like money laundering and terrorism financing. That framework needs to be followed strictly by exchanges and services providers of virtual currencies. These new rules will be in addition to that framework, according to Mr. Ong Chong Tee, MAS Deputy Managing Director (Financial Supervision).
In Singapore, MAS doesn’t regulate cryptocurrencies directly. However, the country has mandated crypto exchanges and service providers to comply strictly with Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFC) rules. But these rules are not enough to protect the interests of investors, based on what Mr. Tee had to say in one of his recent speeches:
“Virtual currencies first emerged about 10 years ago. Since then, we have observed an increase in the number of initial coin (or token) offerings in Singapore. As with most financial regulators, MAS does not regulate virtual currencies. But we regulate the activities that surround virtual currencies if these pose specific risks. An example would be the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements that we have imposed on intermediaries providing virtual currency services. We are assessing if additional regulations are required for investor protection.”
These remarks suggest that the country which operates on a technology-forward agenda is still looking to set up a robust regulatory framework around cryptocurrencies. That will be a good thing for country’s cryptocurrency economy though, which has been growing from a steady pace since last few years.
It’s also worth mentioning that Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister had stressed during a parliamentary meeting that after closely examining the developments of cryptocurrency space the government of Singapore didn’t feel the need of banning them like China. Instead, the country would like to let cryptocurrencies operate with certain level of regulation in place. The deputy PM has also said in past that Singaporean dollar and cryptocurrencies both will go through same scrutiny in the country.
The MAS is also working on a regulation that will bring all retail payment services (including cryptocurrency exchanges) under the purview of its Payment Services Bill.