Singapore's MAS updates crypto advertising regulations

Singapore's regulator has urged crypto service providers to refrain from showing advertisements that downplayed the high risks associated with these deals.

Yesterday, the Monetary Authority of Singapore issued guidelines for crypto service providers, asking them to refrain from broadcasting advertisements to the general public in the country.

A media release released along with the guidelines confirmed that the regulator wants to prevent speculation in various assets that are considered volatile and therefore unsuitable for public investors.

Crypto service providers in Singapore are no longer allowed to offer their products on retail platforms. This includes physical ATMs in public spaces, physical displays and online platforms.

The updated guidelines also require affected service providers to refrain from advertising that downplays the high risks of trading these assets.

“MAS strongly supports the development of blockchain technology and the innovative application of crypto tokens in value-added use cases. However, cryptocurrency trading is highly risky and not suitable for the general public. Cryptocurrency providers should therefore not portray cryptocurrency trading in a way that downplays the high risks involved in cryptocurrency trading, nor engage in marketing activities aimed at the general public, " said MAS Deputy General Manager Loo Siew yeah

Crypto firms can still promote their services through their websites, official social media platforms, or dedicated mobile apps.

Not so easy with the approvals

Singapore's stance on cryptocurrencies and approval from companies offering them has been strengthened in recent months. Of 180 companies that applied for licenses , only five were approved. Three companies were rejected while 60 withdrew their applications.

The country's central bank has repeatedly warned investors against investing their wealth in crypto trading.

During the Singapore FinTech Festival held in early November last year, MAS CEO Ravi Menon questioned crypto's status as money. Menon believed that crypto had historically performed rather poorly as both a medium of exchange and a store of value, adding that digital assets had failed on several issues.

Cryptocurrencies have fared poorly as a medium of exchange, a store of value, or a unit of account. MAS prefers to call them by their more precise technical name: crypto tokens,” he said .

Singapore's strict crypto policies pushed Binance, the world's largest exchange, out of the country back in December. Binance Asia Services, the exchange’s Asian arm, ended a permitting effort that began in 2020. It withdrew its application for a crypto permit and planned to completely halt operations in the country by February 13.

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