Singapore Crypto Regulations Won’t Deter Biggest Bank

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The Singapore stock exchange is to launch a new crypto asset platform with the country’s DBS Bank becoming the first customer.

SGX’s MaxxTrader will operate MaxxDigital, which was known for institutional services of foreign-exchange and risk solutions. The report comes at a time when Singapore is tightening regulations, primarily to safeguard retail investors.

New Offerings Emerge Amid Tightening Regulations

Lee Beng Hong, head of FICC at SGX Group, called it a “trusted, stable, robust institutional grade infrastructure” when the digital asset market is “relatively inefficient, still relatively fragmented.”

This week, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) also announced legislative regulations to change existing rules. The new regulations substantially change how consumers access crypto in a controlled manner. One significant change is prohibiting credit facilities from offering services to retail customers for crypto trading.

Acknowledging that Singapore’s latest proposals for retail investors might be among the “strictest in the world,” MAS chief Ravi Menon said, “And we think that’s necessary.”

Singapore Central Bank: “Regulate, not fear” Crypto

DBS Bank has also been of the view that central banks should regulate the asset class instead of “fearing its expansion.” Earlier, DBS had pivoted from its retail crypto launch, planned for the end of 2022, on the back of Singapore’s stricter regulations.

Despite managing to position itself as a crypto hub, the nation-state might be potentially losing its crown to the market of Dubai and Hong Kong.

In another report today, Bloomberg reported that Hong Kong is planning to move towards legalizing crypto trading for retail investors. While the new rule might come into force from March next year, Singapore might not be worrying about losing potential fintech businesses yet.

Previously, a MAS official said they would “chart their own path” and not “react to what other countries are doing.”

In an interview this week, central bank chief Ravi Menon reiterated this idea. He said, “We don’t set ourselves out to compete with other jurisdictions, especially on regulation. We have to do what is right for us, what is necessary to contain the risks. And the risks are primarily harm to retail investors.”

Meanwhile, as Singapore’s largest bank, DBS is deep into the virtual asset sector. In Sept, it announced expanding cryptocurrency services to 300,000 of its more affluent clients in Asia. The service was launched as a self-directed crypto trading function in its banking app.

It also collaborated with Sandbox to develop a community-focused metaverse to foster a more sustainable environment.


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