Singapore hopeful towards fintech, cautious over cryptocurrency

Singapore aims to become a global fintech centre, but it also maintains a cautious stance. Ravi Menon, managing director of Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), does not seem persuaded at the idea of bright future of cryptocurrencies. Speaking at the Milken Institute Asia Summit in Singapore, the MAS premier urged “extreme caution” about buying cryptocurrencies.

MAS managing director Ravi Menon reiterated, “As of now, I see no basis for wanting to regulate cryptocurrencies”. “I do hope when the fever has gone away when the crash has happened, it will not undermine the much deeper, and more meaningful technology associated with digital currencies and blockchain,” he added.  Reminding of Central’s bank’s stance over the activities surrounding cryptocurrencies he emphasised ” we would look at the activities surrounding the cryptocurrency and ask ourselves what kinds of risks they pose, which risks would require a regulatory response, and then proceed from there”.

Mr. Menon commented that cryptocurrency is neither a legal tender nor does it reflects the liability of a particular party.  Questioning the credibility of cyrptocurrency, he said, “The question is, does it have a life of its own, as a means of exchange and as a store of value? The irony is that cryptocurrency is not a currency.”

However, Mr. Menon called (ICOS) which is currently an unregulated source of crowdfunding centred around cryptocurrency, which allows companies to issue their digital tokens, a good step forward for the industry. MAS’s attitude stands in stark contrast with that of China, which in September decided to impose a ban on all ICOs, declaring them illegal. Less than a month later, South Korea traced the same path, banning fundraising through all forms of ICOs.

MAS just like many other global central banks has voiced its concern about the potential losses for citizens and money laundering through cryptocurrencies and the risks associated with it.

The value of bitcoin marked the growth of around 1,500 percent last year to peak at nearly US$20,000 in December. But it has plummeted since then and on Monday was trading at around US$13,572 on Luxembourg-based Bitstamp.

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