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Crypto Regulations: Singapore to Tighten Grip on Retail Investors

Singapore's financial regulator says "no" to crypto speculation, but "yes" to digital asset innovation.

Crypto Investors Put on Notice

The Chief of Singapore’s central bank and financial regulator said the country plans to introduce tighter regulations for retail crypto investors in order to safeguard consumers against harm.

In an Aug. 29 address titled, "Yes to Digital Asset Innovation, No to Cryptocurrency Speculation," Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said he considers cryptocurrencies highly hazardous for retail investors. Despite the authority issuing warnings about the risks of trading cryptocurrencies, “many consumers are still enticed by the prospect of sharp price increases in cryptocurrencies.”

Retail investors seem to be “irrationally oblivious” about the risks of cryptocurrency trading, Menon said. However he believes “banning retail access to cryptocurrencies is not likely to work.” Instead the regulator is considering measures that involve “adding frictions on retail access to cryptocurrencies.”

These measures could involve customer suitability tests and restricting the use of leverage and credit facilities for cryptocurrency trading. By October, the MAS will seek public feedback on their latest proposals.

Singapore promotes itself as a global fintech hub that wants to welcome crypto players, however the regulator is adopting stringent measures to discourage retail access. Menon said the regulator’s dual stances on 1) facilitating innovative digital asset activities and 2) restricting cryptocurrency speculation are not contradictory.

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