Singapore will be a crypto hub but not for speculative trading, MAS says

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on Nov 3, 2022
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  • Singapore's MAS says the city-state's goal is to become a global blockchain and crypto hub.
  • However, the central bank is against the idea of making the country a hub for speculative crypto trading.
  • Rival Hong Kong has this week revealed plans to develop a framework for crypto retail trading.

Singapore and Hong Kong are two financial hubs looking to peep each other to the goal of becoming the de facto crypto and financial innovation hub in Asia. Notably, Singapore ranks third behind London and New York as the world’s leading financial hub. However, it overtook Hong Kong in the Global Financial Centers Index released in September.

In our report on Hong Kong’s crypto ambitions, we highlighted the administrative region’s latest plans to develop a framework legalising retail crypto trading. The plans have received further during this week’s fintech conference.

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But Singapore, a rival of Hong Kong in the Asia region, is saying its goal is to become a global crypto hub – a hub for blockchain and financial innovation, not for speculative trading of cryptocurrencies.

Singapore’s not keen on becoming hub for crypto trading

The Monetary Authority of Singapore, the city-state’s central bank, says it will become a crypto hub. However, this is only if it’s about things like use of programmable money, tokenisation of financial assets and application of digital assets for other such use cases.

If not, then Singapore wouldn’t be moving towards that direction, Ravi Menon, the managing director at MAS said at the Singapore Fintech Festival 2022. A Bloomberg report on Thursday quotes Menon as saying:

“… if it is about trading and speculating in cryptocurrencies, that is not the kind of crypto hub we want to be.”

Singapore’s outlook on crypto trading comes after 2022 saw the collapse of two major crypto projects – the cryptocurrency Terra and crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital. Both had offices in Singapore.

Multiple blockchain-powered projects

On Tuesday DBS Bank, Singapore’s largest bank, started a piloting of the country’s first digital money. The digital Singapore dollar (SGD) pilot is with government vouchers and is aimed at bringing the benefits of blockchain and digital assets to merchants.

Other blockchain-based projects in Singapore’s embrace of the technology have involved JPMorgan, SBI Digital Assets and Temasek.Areas of interest have included blockchain-powered payments, tokenized foreign exchange, and clearing and settlement of securities