The Singaporean financial regulator has stated that it is willing to support cryptocurrency firms that are having problems with setting up bank accounts in the city.
Some crypto firms have complained against Singapore’s banking system which they argue has resulted in account closures or companies simply not being able to open business accounts. This has resulted in the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) stepping in an attempt to alleviate the problem.
MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon that has said that from the point of view of the banks, he can understand their concerns, arguing they should not allow “an extremely lax regulatory environment in order to attract that kind of business”, referring to the cryptocurrency industry. He added:
“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… I hope we can bring minds together on this so that we can get over this hurdle.”
Singapore has expressed in the past that it has no desire to follow the Japanese pro-crypto stance on cryptocurrency but on the other hand, is keen to push fintech forward in order create tech jobs and boost the economy. This, however, doesn’t include embracing crypto exchanges in the same way that Japan has. This view is clearly reflected in the stance that many of Singapore’s banks have taken. Menon defends this concern arguing:
“The nature of this business is a bit different, so banks may need to employ other ways in which they can establish bona fide… some of these activities are indeed quite opaque. I would not blame the banks for not opening the bank accounts.”
The problem is not unique to Singapore, as banks in other countries have been reticent to offer services to crypto firms due to concerns about money laundering and financial crime, despite numerous claims that figures are exaggerated. Even European counties such as the Irish Republic have had similar problems where banks have closed crypto exchange accounts.
However, blockchain development is fast becoming a major part of Singapore’s fintech environment. With the recent news that Singapore-based Venture Capital firm Golden Gate Ventures is to launch a $10 million fund targeting crypto and blockchain startups, the country continues to push forward with its DLT investment, with one eye on crypto.
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