The chief of Singapore’s central bank has indicated it will not regulate cryptocurrencies, but plans to stay watchful on the risks posed by the technology.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Ravi Menon, managing director of Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said he currently sees “no basis for wanting to regulate cryptocurrencies,” adding:
“It is a known fact that cryptocurrencies are quite often abused for illicit financing purposes. And so we do want to have anti money laundering controls, countering the financing of terrorism controls in place. So those requirements apply to activity around cryptocurrency rather than the cryptocurrency itself.”
According to Menon, the central bank is working on to “formalize” rules for digital currency intermediaries like exchange operators in order to curb money laundering and other criminal activities.
His comments come weeks after Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore’s minister for MAS, stated that the monetary authority has been monitoring activities surrounding cryptocurrencies but also has “no intention” of regulating them.
Further, in the wake of a rapid growth in the number of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), MAS clarified in August that it will regulate the issue of digital tokens in Singapore, given the fact that some issuances might fall under its definition of a “security.” On the other hand, countries like China and South Korea have banned ICOs completely.
With some notable figures in finance critical of cryptocurrencies – including JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, who recently said bitcoin is a “fraud” – Menon told Bloomberg he will keep an “open mind on it.”
MAS image via Shutterstock