The Minister in charge of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) revealed in a parliamentary response recently that the agency is considering tighter curbs in the crypto sector, despite being ahead of several countries in terms of regulations.
Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam stated, “MAS has been carefully considering the introduction of additional consumer protection safeguards. These may include placing limits on retail participation, and rules on the use of leverage when transacting in cryptocurrencies.”
MAS introduced stricter guidelines in January
Earlier in January this year, MAS had issued guidelines to discourage cryptocurrency trading by the general retail investor. The agency had warned that trading digital assets are “highly risky and not suitable for the general public”.
And now underlining the recent crypto market weakness, Shanmugaratnam noted, “Since 2017, MAS has consistently warned that cryptocurrencies are not suitable investments for the retail public…Recent events have vividly demonstrated the risks, with prices of several cryptocurrencies falling drastically.”
This week, Singapore-based crypto lending platform, Vauld, became the latest platform to freeze withdrawals, deposits, and trading. Amid the volatile market conditions, the provider is also moving towards financial restructuring.
Previously, events like the Terraform-led collapse and liquidation of Three Arrows Capital had added to the financial woes of the market. So much so that the MAS had come forward to rebuke the hedge fund Three Arrows Capital for misinformation and other violations, like exceeding the cap for assets under management.
New domestic and global crypto framework
The minister also remarked that MAS went further than most regulators to restrict public marketing and advertising of cryptocurrency, ensuring disclaimers around its risks, releasing guidelines for the sector, and removing cryptocurrency ATMs from public areas, among other legislations.
That said, the response also reiterated the warning that “People can lose most of the money they have invested” in the risky asset class.
But despite the tighter supervision, the island nation aims to rule the crypto roost in the medium to long term by regulating the sector.
And for that, the official highlighted that the Payment Services Act empowers MAS to impose additional measures on DPT service providers to ensure ‘better consumer protection, maintain financial stability and safeguard the efficacy of monetary policy,’ apart from the primary focus of curbing money laundering and terrorism financing risks.
In addition, the minister also hinted that the regulatory issue of the virtual sector is being discussed at various international standard-setting bodies, as he called for global coordination and cooperation for rulemaking.
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