‘Brutal and unrelentingly hard’: Singapore regulator’s clampdown on crypto

Singapore’s financial regulator and central bank has pledged to be “brutal and unrelentingly hard” on any “bad behavior” from the cryptocurrency industry.

The comments come from Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)’s chief fintech officer Sopnendu Mohanty, explaining in an interview that “if somebody has done a bad thing, we are brutal and unrelentingly hard.”

He also hit back at the rhetoric of certain crypto market participants who have criticized the regulator for not being friendly enough to crypto, and instead questioned the legitimacy of the market, saying:

“We have been called out by many cryptocurrencies for not being friendly, my response has been: Friendly for what? Friendly for a real economy or friendly for some unreal economy?”

The fintech chief believes the world is “lost in private currency” and is the cause behind the wider market turmoil. Mohanty added the city-state enacted an “extremely draconian” and “painfully slow” due diligence process for licensing crypto businesses in response to the conservative stance the regulator has towards crypto.

Singapore introduced licensing for crypto firms in January 2020 and has been stringent on which companies are approved for a license. Cointelegraph reported in December 2022 that the MAS had knocked-back approvals for over 100 licenses from companies who had applied.

In January cryptocurrency providers were barred from advertising their services in public areas such as public transportation which extended to public websites as well as print, broadcast and social media.

MAS is extending its ability to police crypto businesses too, in April the regulator passed new requirements for firms to obtain a license and be subject to Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism requirements if they wanted to provide services outside of the country.

Related: Singapore to explore digital asset tokenization on public chains

Many crypto businesses were set up in Singapore due to both its low taxes and the perception that the city-state was one of the more crypto-friendly but the regulatory tightening suggests that is changing as the country focuses on its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

On June 21 payment systems provider, the Mojaloop Foundation opened a CBDC Center of Excellence (COE) in Singapore which sees MAS on its Working Group and Mohanty as a board advisor.

With the opening of the COE Mohanty thinks a state-backed alternative cryptocurrency could be launched within three years.

The COE is aimed at reducing costs and inefficiencies of payment platforms and cross-border payments, Mohanty said he welcomed the move as a “step forward into the future of financial services”.

All Dutch and English crypto news!

What is StrongBlock (STRONG) and how does it work?

The digital financial environment continues to develop almost every second, which is no surprise to those in the crypto sector. Among such technological advancements, a...

Bitcoin network power demand falls to 10.65GW as hash rate sees 14% drop

The overall power consumption of the Bitcoin (BTC) network recorded a drastic drop after mimicking the two-week-long fall in the mining hash rate, which reduced...

It seems NFT-themed Bored & Hungry restaurant no longer accepts crypto

The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that recently opened NFT-themed burger joint Bored & Hungry no longer accepts cryptocurrency as a form of payment for...

Celsius Network hires advisers ahead of potential bankruptcy: Report

Crypto lending platform Celsius Network has reportedly onboarded advisers from a management consulting firm in advance of the company possibly facing bankruptcy. According to a Friday...

Beste exchanges

Koop je crypto bij Bitvavo