Singapore financial watchdog’s chairman questions if regulating crypto legitimizes speculation


Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Tharman Shanmugaratnam, spoke at the WEF23 and stated a controversial take on crypto regulations and questioned if regulating crypto could legitimize speculation, VulcanPost reported.

Shanmugaratnam said:

“I think whether it’s crypto or traditional finance, you have to regulate for things like money laundering — that’s very clear.

But beyond that, if we’re thinking about regulating crypto the same way we regulate banks or insurance companies, I think we have to take a step back and ask a basic philosophical question: does that legitimize something that is inherently, purely speculative, and in fact slightly crazy?”

Instead, Shanmugaratnam argued that lawmakers could steer clear from the crypto sphere and make it really clear that the whole space is unregulated and investors have to invest on their own risk.

Regulation might become unavoidable

Shanmugaratnam also acknowledged that this is only possible if crypto companies don’t offer services typical to traditional finance institutions. He stated:

“If crypto companies would like to do things that traditional finance is doing, you apply exactly the same regulations to them (regarding liquidity, reserves, etc.), under one regulatory system.”

Singapore on crypto

Singapore’s pro-crypto attitude changed after the Singaporean-based 3AC collapsed. After 3AC’s bankruptcy, MAS publicly stated its discomfort with the potential crypto sphere carries for malicious activities and has taken measures to limit crypto’s freedom within the country.

In October 2022, the country proposed a new bill to regulate cryptocurrencies and stablecoins. The bill accepted crypto assets as “inherently speculative and risky” and suggested taking measures accordingly.

In November 2022, the MAS ruled that all banks in Singapore must hold $125 of capital against every $100 exposure to risky crypto assets, which includes Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). While trying to limit the spread of crypto, the country has also been attempting to utilize blockchain as a technology and reap its benefits.

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