Cryptocurrency service providers should not promote their services to public, says MAS as it warns of ‘high risks’

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SINGAPORE: Service providers of digital payment token (DPTs), or more commonly known as cryptocurrency, should not promote their services to the general public in Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said on Monday (Jan 17).

This includes placing any form of advertisements or promotional materials in public areas, such as public transport and related venues, public websites, broadcast and print media, provision of physical ATMs.

Service providers should also not be engaging third parties like social media influencers to hold joint promotional campaigns to solicit new customers, said the central bank as it issued new guidelines to "discourage" cryptocurrency trading by the general public.

According to the guidelines, digital payment token service providers can only market or advertise on their own corporate websites, mobile apps or official social media accounts.

“MAS strongly encourages the development of blockchain technology and innovative application of crypto tokens in value-adding use cases. But the trading of cryptocurrencies is highly risky and not suitable for the general public,” said the central bank’s assistant managing director for policy, payments and financial crime Loo Siew Yee.

"DPT service providers should therefore not portray the trading of DPTs in a manner that trivialises the high risks of trading in DPTs, nor engage in marketing activities that target the general public.”

Examples of digital payment tokens are cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or ether. Digital payment token service includes the buying or selling of digital payment tokens, or providing a platform to allow people to exchange such tokens in Singapore.

Such service providers include payment institutions, banks and other financial institutions, as well as applicants under the Payment Services Act.

The definition of digital payment token services will also be expanded to include the transfer of digital payment tokens and provision of custodian wallet services for such tokens when the amendments to the Payment Services Act take effect, said the central bank in a press release.

At the moment, Singapore's regulations are geared primarily towards protection against money laundering and terrorism financing. Digital payment tokens are not subject to consumer protection measures.

MAS said it has consistently warned that the trading of digital payment toke...

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