Owning cryptocurrency as an investment asset is on the rise in Singapore, but the MAS seeks to regulate the promotion of crypto services with its latest guidelines.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued a statement today emphasising that cryptocurrency exchanges are not allowed to promote their services to the public in Singapore.

Under the new guidelines issued by MAS, service providers of Digital Payment Tokens (DPTs) – the term used by MAS for cryptocurrencies – should adhere to the following rules:

  • Avoid marketing or advertising in public areas. This includes advertisements on public transport, public transport venues, public websites, social media platforms, broadcast and print media, or provision of physical ATMs
  • Avoid marketing or advertising through third parties like social media influencers
  • Only market or advertise on their own corporate websites, mobile applications or official social media accounts

Under the guidelines, payment token derivatives such as options and futures contracts that uses cryptocurrencies as underlying assets are also not allowed to be promoted locally.

MAS Assistant Managing Director (Policy, Payments and Financial Crime), Ms Loo Siew Yee said, “MAS strongly encourages the development of blockchain technology and innovative application of crypto tokens in value-adding use cases. But the trading of cryptocurrencies is highly risky and not suitable for the general public. DPT service providers should therefore not portray the trading of DPTs in a manner that trivialises the high risks of trading in DPTs, nor engage in marketing activities that target the general public.”

The Singapore Parliament has recently amended the Payment Services Act in January 2021 to expand the definition of DPT services. Other than cryptocurrency exchanges, DPT services now include transfer of cryptocurrencies, provision of custodian wallet services for tokens, and facilitating the exchange of cryptocurrencies without possession of moneys or assets by the DPT service provider. 

With the interest in cryptocurrencies showing no signs of waning since its popularity rose in 2021, MAS has continued to tighten regulations with regards to cryptocurrencies in Singapore. 

Cryptocurrency service providers also have to meet stringent conditions to obtain an In-Principle Approval from the MAS before being viewed as a regulated provider. This has caused popular exchanges such as Binance and Huobi to remove their services from the market.

MAS continues to view cryptocurrency as highly risky and not suitable for the public to trade the asset.

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