Singapore bans marketing of crypto-related services

Singapore’s Financial Regulatory Authority has asked companies operating in the field of virtual currencies to refrain from advertising their services to the public, as the country seeks to curb speculation in popular digital assets.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said that service providers should only market their activities on their websites, mobile apps or their official social media accounts.

“The Monetary Authority of Singapore has noted that some cryptocurrency service providers are actively promoting their services through physical and online advertisements and by providing automated teller machines in public places,” the statement added.

These directives cover a wide range of businesses, from banks to payment service providers and virtual currency exchanges.

In the context of its adoption of cryptocurrencies, Singapore is trying to balance the benefits of financial innovation with the risks arising from retail traders investing in tokens exposed to wild price swings. Some billboards advertising digital asset exchanges in the city-state were removed last year.

Chia Hook Lai, co-chair of the Blockchain Association of Singapore, said he agreed that cryptocurrency is not an appropriate asset class for most retail investors. But he said there are other ways to protect inexperienced people from financial harm.

“One alternative is to classify cryptocurrencies as (specific investment products), such as structured guarantees or futures,” whereby a retail investor must undergo an investment evaluation before making an investment in cryptocurrencies, he said.

Singapore’s moves to fuel a fully regulated crypto industry – after China last year effectively banned most of the sector – has led to an influx of start-ups there. About 180 companies have applied for permits to operate a regulated cryptocurrency business there.

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