Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said there are no plans to ban cryptocurrency trading as he believes no convincing case can currently be made in favor of such an action.
In a written answer to questions from members of parliament on banning the trading of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Shanmugaratnam said that the nature and scale of cryptocurrency trading in the country does not pose risks to the safety and integrity of its financial system. Hence, he believes that a ban on its trading would be a premature move on the part of lawmakers.
“The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has been closely studying these developments and the potential risks they pose. As of now, there is no strong case to ban cryptocurrency trading here,” said Shanmugaratnam. “But we will be subjecting those involved as intermediaries to our anti-money laundering regulations. And we will keep highlighting to Singaporeans that they could lose their shirts when they invest money in cryptocurrencies.”
The Prime Minister noted that the cryptocurrency space is rapidly changing and regulatory thinking internationally is still evolving, including in the US, UK and Europe. He said the central bank is watching these developments closely and is part of the regulatory discussions internationally on how the risks posed by cryptocurrencies are best addressed.
“We will continue to encourage experiments in the blockchain space that may involve the use of cryptocurrencies, because some of these innnovations could turn out to be economically or socially useful,” he said. “But equally, we will stay alert to new risks.”
MAS has been exploring the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) for clearing and settlement of payments and securities. In October 2017, the central bank completed Project Ubin’s Phase 2 and successfully produced three source-codes on blockchain software prototypes for inter-bank payments for public access.