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

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 introduce new announcements, 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 – like Three Arrows Capital and Vauld – collapsed earlier this year.

The MAS in particular 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.

Read more: Singapore Will Crack Down on Bad Crypto Behavior: Report