Singapore's Central Bank Wants to Foster Digital Assets, Restrict Crypto Speculation

The head of the Monetary Authority of Singapore insists this stance is "synergistic" and says price speculation is the source of the crypto world's problems.

AccessTimeIconAug 29, 2022 at 8:28 a.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 4:58 p.m. UTC

Singapore's central bank wants to promote a digital asset ecosystem while restricting crypto speculation, said Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Menon insisted that this stance is not contradictory during his opening remarks at a Green Shoots Seminar on Monday. Green Shoots sessions are used to make announcements and introduce products and policies to the financial services community.

The MAS, along with other regulators in the country, have been cracking down on the local crypto space with renewed vigor after a number of high-profile crypto firms with ties to Singapore – including Three Arrows Capital and Vauld – collapsed earlier this year.

In particular the MAS is looking to strengthen protections for retail crypto investors in the country – something Menon reinforced during his Monday speech.

According to Menon, while the digital asset ecosystem uses blockchain, distributed ledger technology and tokenization to allow "anything of value to be represented in digital form, and to be stored and exchanged on a ledger that keeps an immutable record of all transactions" cryptocurrencies are just "heavily speculated upon" while their prices "have nothing to do with any underlying economic value."

"Cryptocurrencies have taken a life of their own outside of the distributed ledger and this is the source of the crypto world’s problems," Menon said.

The MAS is instead focusing on actively promoting the digital asset ecosystem that encompasses the tokenization of financial assets like cash and bonds, real assets like artwork and property, and intangible items like carbon credits and computing resources.

"I hope this presentation has made clear that MAS’ facilitative posture on digital asset activities and restrictive stance on cryptocurrency speculation are not contradictory. It is in fact a synergistic and holistic approach to develop Singapore as an innovative and responsible global digital asset hub," Menon said.


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Sandali Handagama

Sandali Handagama is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for policy and regulations, EMEA. She does not own any crypto.