Singapore eyes crypto crackdown, threatening status as industry hub

Singapore may soon roll out regulations to restrict cryptocurrency retail trading, according to one of the country’s top financial officials. At an event on Monday, Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), described crypto retail investors as “irrationally oblivious” to the risks, advocating for tightening controls. “These may include customer suitability tests and restricting the use of leverage and credit facilities for cryptocurrency trading,” Menon said. Singapore has emerged as one of the top crypto hubs in Southeast Asia, especially as China banned cryptocurrencies in 2021. In November, Menon said the best approach was not to “clamp down or ban these things,” citing crypto-based activities as crucial to Singapore’s future. Investment in the sector reached $1.48 billion in Singapore in 2021—10 times the previous year, and nearly half the Asia Pacific total. The recent downturn in the crypto market has threatened that status. Several now-disgraced firms, including the collapsed hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC) and the lending platform Hodlnaut, operated out of the country. Do Kwon, founder of the TerraUSD stablecoin, also was based in Singapore—TerraUSD crashed in May, erasing tens of billions of dollars in value.

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