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No strong case to ban cryptocurrency trading as of now: Singapore Deputy Prime Minister

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) does not see a strong case to ban cryptocurrency trading at the moment, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of MAS, said recently.

Shanmugaratnam clarified the MAS’ stance in response to the parliamentary questions on banning the trading of cryptocurrency in the country. Parliamentarians, Saktiandi Supaat, Lim Biow Chuan, and Cheng Li Hui, sought clarification in the wake of the recent ban on cryptocurrency trading in China and possibility of the same in South Korea.

“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” Shanmugaratnam said.

He said that the nature and scale of cryptocurrency trading in the country at present does not pose risks to the safety and integrity of its financial system. The use of cryptocurrencies for making payments is low as is the trading volume in Singapore.

“[C]onnections between cryptocurrency trading and Singapore’s financial system are also not significant at present. Singapore’s banking system does not have any signficant exposure to global and local entities dealing in cryptocurrencies. We hence do not have broader, systemic risk concerns with regard to cryptocurrencies,” Shanmugaratnam added.

However, noting the potential of cryptocurrencies to be used for money laundering and other illicit activities, Shanmugaratnam said that the central bank will be imposing AML/CTF requirements on the intermediaries.

“MAS will be imposing anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements on the intermediaries that buy, sell or exchange virtual currencies. We set out this AML/CFT regulatory framework for virtual currency intermediaries last year as part of our public consultation on the proposed Payment Services Bill,” he added.

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