While the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) was once heralded as more welcoming of crypto than Seoul or Hong Kong, it has now started to crack down on the world’s largest crypto companies. Instead of fighting regulations, many CEOs are simply opting to leave.
This week, Singapore is ratcheting up its enforcement of the crypto industry another notch, with threats of limiting the ability of non-accredited investors to access certain crypto services — especially leveraged (margin) trading.
Binance, FTX, Huobi, and dozens of smaller companies have fled the city-state in favor of laxer regimes abroad.
- Binance has left Singapore for Dubai.
- FTX has left Singapore for the Bahamas.
- Huobi has fled Singapore for Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC) is under investigation by the MAS. Crypto exchange Vauld suffered bank run-like withdrawals in the city-state of $197 million and suspended withdrawals. London-based crypto lender Nexo plans to buy the firm.
Crypto crackdown by the Monetary Authority of Singapore
The de facto central bank of the city-state is the Monetary Authority of Singapore. It licenses crypto exchanges and financial firms.
- In 2017, MAS began warning the public about the dangers of crypto assets.
- In January 2020, the authority began encouraging digital asset companies to apply for Payment Services Act licenses. This regulates the buying, selling, holding, or transferring of crypto assets.
- In December 2021, MAS terminated approximately 100 operating licenses for crypto companies.
- In January 2022, the Monetary Authority of Singapore began restricting crypto advertising in public areas. Officials began removing crypto ATMs.
- Now, MAS announced it may decide to impose “limits on retail participation, and rules on the use of leverage” in crypto trading.