MAS to Broaden Focus On Crypto Regulations to Include Consumer Protection

MAS to Broaden Focus On Crypto Regulations to Include Consumer Protection

by July 20, 2022

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is set to take a more comprehensive approach to crypto regulations and is targeting to consult on proposed measures in the next few months.

According to Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS, the regulator is looking to widen the scope of the crypto regulations to cover areas such as consumer protection, market conduct, and reserve backing for stablecoins.

Prior to this, the focus of crypto regulation to-date in Singapore, as well as in most major jurisdictions, has been on containing money laundering and terrorist financing risks.

Given the recent upheaval in the global crypto industry, the regulator repeated its unrelenting warnings that “investing in cryptocurrencies is highly risky”.

According to MAS, reviews and public consultations are underway among international standard-setting bodies and regulators to strengthen regulation in the above-mentioned areas.

MAS will be organising a dedicated Green Shoots seminar to share its strategies in an effort to develop Singapore as digital asset hub next month.

During this seminar, MAS will explain its position on cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, blockchains, tokenisation, smart contracts, and digital assets by delving into their risks and opportunities as well as shortcomings and potential.

The regulator will also set out to see how its developmental and regulatory approaches will “work in harmony to achieve the vision of Singapore as an innovative and responsible digital asset hub”.

Ravi Menon

Ravi Menon

Menon said,

“This is what MAS has been warning the public about for the past 5 years.

 

In fact, MAS’ repeated warnings against retail investments in cryptocurrencies and ratcheting up of policies to restrain retail access have raised some questions as to where MAS stands with respect to the digital asset ecosystem.”

He also chided certain crypto players for presenting themselves as being “Singapore-based” in the media despite having little to do with the crypto-related regulation in the island nation.

Menon revealed that TerraForm Labs and Luna Foundation Guard are not licensed or regulated by MAS, nor have they applied for any license or sought exemption from holding any license.

Meanwhile, speaking about the beleaguered cryptocurrency hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, he said that it was not regulated under the Payment Services Act. It had operated under the registered fund management regime to carry out limited fund management business, but had ceased to manage funds in Singapore prior to the problems leading to its insolvency.

However, he noted that crypto lender Vauld has submitted a license application which is pending review.

He warned crypto players that if any of them were found to be conducting illegal activities or performing regulated activities without a license, MAS and the relevant government agencies will take firm enforcement action.