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Singapore official says some crypto activities aren’t regulated

Visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency Ethereum Crypto and Bitcoin, in Brussels, Belgium on 22 September 2022. (Photo illustration by Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
“MAS would not have information on the number of parties interested in setting up cryptocurrency investment companies in Singapore unless they apply for a licence from MAS,” Shanmugaratnam Tharman said. (Photo illustration by Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

By Joanna Ossinger

(Bloomberg) — Singapore said not all crypto-related activities are regulated and that its monetary authority wouldn’t know about the number of people interested in setting up crypto firms unless they sought a central-bank license.

Companies that provide services involving buying, selling or facilitating the exchange of digital payment tokens would be governed by the Payment Services Act, Monetary Authority of Singapore Chairman Tharman Shanmugaratnam said in a reply to questions from a member of parliament.

“MAS would not have information on the number of parties interested in setting up cryptocurrency investment companies in Singapore unless they apply for a licence from MAS,” Tharman said.

Tharman also said that other jurisdictions, not just Singapore, are in a situation where some activities related to digital assets are unregulated. Singapore’s monetary authority conducts surveillance to identify unlicensed firms, he said.

This year’s crypto rout dealt a setback to Singapore’s earlier embrace of the potential of blockchain technology and spurred a tougher regulatory stance. Companies with ties to Singapore were among those toppled or damaged by the meltdown, such as the Three Arrows Capital hedge fund, the collapsed Terraform Labs stablecoin project and crypto platforms Hodlnaut and Zipmex.

Separately, Tharman said that digital-payment token service providers that engage in customer transactions involving anonymity features like privacy coins, privacy wallets and mixers must take additional measures to mitigate risks regarding money laundering and terrorism financing.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.