In Focus
FINANCIAL SERVICES | Luz Wendy Noble, Singapore

Is Singapore becoming more favorable to crypto players?

MAS said that it will help crypto firms set up local bank accounts, on top of leveraging blockchain adoption.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) managing director Ravi Menon said in a Bloomberg interview that they will step up to help cryptocurrency firms that are facing problems setting up local bank accounts.

Menon acknowledged that activities of crypto firms are ‘quite opaque,’ making banks want to be extra careful in establishing the nature of such firms. However, he also said that the crypto scene still bears many ‘obscure’ and ‘dangerous’ aspects for investors.

This means that the city-state is still not open to a ‘lax’ regulatory environment eyeing to lure more startup players in the country, he noted. “What we are trying to do is to bring the banks and cryptocurrency fintech startups together to see if there is some understanding they can reach.”

Also readSingapore nabbed Asia's fintech crown from Hong Kong in 2017

In Singapore, crypto players are hurdling through some challenges brought about by regulations and price volatility.

“Government and regulatory powers have become more skeptical of the validity of the coins,” CMC markets sales trader Oriano Lizza told Singapore Business Review.

“In the near-term, cryptos specifically will continue to face legislative issues and I feel investors are becoming more savvy and weary to the potential downside of the markets.”

Despite this, Lizza is quite positive that Singapore’s main focus is surrounding the adoption of the blockchain technology and its ability to enhance areas, such as payments and digital storage. “I feel that Singapore is looking to position itself at the forefront of the fintech space globally and is leveraging blockchain technology and related matters to do so,” he said.

Also read: Meet Singapore's cryptocurrency czars

Amidst challenges from price volatility which affects its value of digital assets holding, token platform DigixGlobal remains positive and actually thinks that Singapore has a ‘business-friendly climate.’

“We plan to explore other types of assets to add to our product offerings. We also intend to explore foreign markets in the region and where much of our user base sits,” a spokesperson from DigixGlobal said.

Singapore’s welcoming business climate was also echoed by fintech firm Quoine, which just launched its global digital asset platform in September that will enable trading and exchange services for G3 currencies such as SGD and AUD.

“We aim to provide financial services to all in this new crypto economy, and that means working hand in hand with governments, regulators, and other industry stakeholders to grow the crypto ecosystem in a safe and sustainable manner,” the firm's spokesperson revealed.

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