Singapore’s financial regulating authority and monetary authority has pledged to be “brutal and unrelentingly hard” on any “bad behavior” from the digital currency industry.
The comments come from Central bank 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 likewise hit back at the rhetoric of certain cryptocurrency market participants who have criticized the regulating authority for not being friendly enough to cryptocurrency, and instead questioned the legitimacy of the market, saying:
“We have been called out by several digital currencies 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 cryptocurrency businesses in response to the conservative stance the regulating authority has towards crypto.
Singapore introduced licensing for cryptocurrency corporations in January 2020 and has been stringent on which corporations are approved for a license. Cointelegraph reported in December 2022 that the MAS had knocked-back approvals for over 100 licenses from corporations who had applied.
In January digital currency providers were barred from advertising their services in public areas such as public transportation which extended to public websites likewise as print, broadcast and social media.
MAS is extending its ability to police cryptocurrency businesses as well, in April the regulating authority passed new requirements for corporations 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.
Several cryptocurrency 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 Monetary Authority Digital Currency (CBDC).
With the opening of the COE Mohanty thinks a state-backed alternative digital currency could be launched within 3 years.
The COE is aimed at reducing costs and inefficiencies of payment platforms and cross-border payments, Mohanty stated he welcomed the move as a “step forward into future of the financial services”.
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