‘Cryptos are Unreal Economy’: Singapore regulatory executive

Singapore’s central bank and financial watchdog have vowed to crack down “brutally and unrelentingly hard” on any “bad behavior” from the cryptocurrency sector.

Sopnendu Mohanty who is serving as the Chief FinTech Officer of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said in an interview, “if somebody has done a bad thing, we are brutal and unrelentingly hard.”

Additionally, he responded to claims made by some participants in the cryptocurrency market that the regulator was not supportive enough of cryptocurrencies and instead cast doubt on the industry’s viability, saying:

“We have been called out by many cryptocurrencies for not being friendly, my response has been: Friendly for what? Friendly for a real economy or friendly for some unreal economy?”

The head of the fintech thinks the larger financial upheaval is brought on by a world “lost in private cash.” According to Mohanty, the city-state instituted an “extremely draconian” and “painfully long” diligence procedure for licensing crypto firms in response to a question on the regulator’s cautious attitude toward cryptocurrencies.

Singapore began licensing cryptocurrency businesses in January 2020 and has strict criteria for which businesses get permitted. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) reportedly rejected over 100 licensing requests from companies in December 2021.

Cryptocurrency service providers were prohibited from advertising their products in public places like public transit in January. This prohibition also applied to public websites, print, broadcast, and social media.

The MAS is expanding its capacity to regulate cryptocurrency enterprises. For businesses to offer services outside of the nation, the regulator established new rules in April requiring them to apply for licenses, comply with anti-money laundering (AML), and counter the financing of terrorism regulations.

Reason for this change in the stance of Singapore toward cryptos

Due to Singapore’s low taxes and reputation as one of the more crypto-friendly city-states, several crypto enterprises were established there. However, regulatory tightening shows that Singapore is changing its stance as the nation focuses on its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

Perhaps this is why Singaporian authorities are hostile towards other non-government-controlled cryptos.

The Mojaloop Foundation, a payment solutions provider, debuted a CBDC Center of Excellence (COE) in Singapore on Tuesday. Mohanty serves as a board adviser, and MAS is a COE’s Working Group member.

Mohanty believes that a state-backed alternative cryptocurrency might be introduced within three years after the COE’s launching.

The COE aims to lower the costs and inefficiencies of cross-border payments and payment platforms. Mohanty hailed the action as a “step into the future of financial services” and expressed appreciation for it.

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