Singapore won’t relax its regulations to attract crypto firms

October 11, 2018
Chris Wheal

Singapore’s financial regulator has no plans to loosen its rules to attract blockchain and cryptocurrency start ups, instead it wants to entrust the country’s banks to forge deeper ties with the sector.

Ravi Menon: We should not be creating a lax regulatory environment

Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, told Bloomberg in an interview that the regulator was willing to help crypto firms set up local bank accounts.

“What we are trying to do is to bring the banks and cryptocurrency fintech start ups together to see if there is some understanding they can reach,” said Menon.

Cautious approach

But while Singapore has been criticised by some for taking too cautious an approach to regulation of the crypto industry, Menon says the organisation won’t bend to pressure.

“We should not be trying to create an extremely lax regulatory environment in order to attract that kind of business,” he said.

Some Singapore banks have closed the accounts of firms that provide cryptocurrency and payments services, prompting Anson Zeall, head of the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Industry Association (Access), to ask the government to intervene.

He said in an emailed statement late last month: “From our analysis, it appears to be common among leading FinTech hubs. If this is the case, we would urge Singapore to take a leadership role and demonstrate how to come to an effective resolution among all parties.”

Bringing minds together

Menon countered in the Bloomberg interview: “The nature of this business is a bit different, so banks may need to employ other ways in which they can establish bona fide. I hope we can bring minds together on this so that we can get over this hurdle.”

Menon remains a cryptocurrency sceptic, however: “You and I can invest in lots of very silly and dubious things. You can’t expect the government or the regulator to regulate all manner of items in which people put their money.”

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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