Crypto platforms should not advertise their services to S'pore's public: MAS

MAS said consumers could be encouraged to trade cryptocurrency without fully understanding the risks.

Matthias Ang | January 17, 2022, 06:52 PM

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The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued new guidelines stating that cryptocurrency service providers should not advertise their services to the general public.

In a press release on Jan. 17, MAS said trading cryptocurrency is "highly risky and not suitable for the general public" as it is subject to sharp speculative swings.

MAS also noted that it had observed some cryptocurrency service providers actively promoting their services through online and physical advertisements or through the provision of physical automated teller machines (ATM) in public areas.

It added: "This could encourage consumers to trade DPTs (cryptocurrency) on impulse, without fully understanding the attendant risks."

What are the guidelines issued by MAS?

Starting from Jan. 17, cryptocurrency service providers should not engage in marketing or advertising their services through the following mediums:

  • In public areas in Singapore such as through advertisements on public transport, public transport venues, public websites, social media platforms, broadcast and print media, provision of physical ATMs, or
  • Through the engagement of third parties, such as social media influencers, to promote DPT services to the general public in Singapore.

They can only advertise on their own corporate websites, mobile applications or official social media accounts.

Loo Siew Yee, the assistant managing director for policy, payments and financial crime at MAS, added:

"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.

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."

What is the definition of a cryptocurrency service provider?

According to MAS, cryptocurrency service providers include payment institutions, banks and other financial institutions, as well as applicants under the Payment Services Act.

In the case of applicants under the Payment Services Act, this refers to entities that are not licensed under the Act but are allowed to continue to provide cryptocurrency services while their licence applications are being reviewed by MAS.

In addition, once amendments to the Payment Services Act that were passed on Jan. 14, The Straits Times reported, the definition of cryptocurrency services will be expanded to include:

  • the transfer of cryptocurrencies,
  • provision of custodian wallet services for cryptocurrencies, and
  • facilitating the exchange of cryptocurrencies without possession of moneys or cryptocurrencies by the service provider.

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