The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s central bank, released a statement on Nov. 21 addressing “some of the questions and misconceptions that have arisen since the FTX.com (FTX) fiasco.” The agency explained its
The first thing MAS wanted to point out was that it could not protect local users from the effects of FTX’s collapse, “for example, by fencing their assets or ensuring that FTX backs up its assets with reserves” because “FTX does not have MAS license and operates offshore. MAS constantly warns of the dangers of working with unregulated organizations.”
However, it was Binance that made it onto the MAS investor warning list. This was because Binance, unlike FTX, was actively targeting users in Singapore, offering Singapore dollar-denominated offerings and payment options through local transmitters. MAS noted that it received “several” complaints about Binance between January and August 2021.
MAS forced Binance to stop recruiting Singaporean users and take a number of measures to demonstrate its compliance, such as geo-blocking local IP addresses. He also referred Binance to the country’s Department of Commercial Affairs to investigate whether the exchange had violated the Payment Services Law. However, Singaporean users could access FTX services.
Related: MAS distrusts retail crypto investment, mulling additional rules
MAS clarified that the purpose of the investor warning list is to “warn the public about entities that may be misunderstood as being regulated by MAS, especially those that solicit Singaporean clients for financial business without the required MAS license.” This does not mean that the list must contain all the “hundreds” of cryptocurrency exchanges around the world, according to MAS. “It is impossible to list them all, and no regulator in the world has done so,” the report says.
Hey @MAS_sg from Singapore are you kidding me? The most important lesson you learned from FTX is that trading any cryptocurrency is “dangerous”? How about doing a basic due diligence before your sovereign wealth fund @Temasek puts $275 million of your citizens’ money into ponzi pic.twitter.com/8Q6UYYYWlm
— Bobby Apelrod // nicefeet.sol (@tofushit888) November 21, 2022
The MAS went on to issue detailed warnings about the volatility of crypto assets and acknowledged:
“Even if a cryptocurrency exchange is licensed in Singapore, it will currently only be regulated to address money laundering risks and not to protect investors. This is similar to the approach currently used in most jurisdictions.”
However, in October, MAS released a consumer protection advisory paper for cryptocurrency users.
State investment firm Temasek released a statement on Nov. 19 saying it conducted an eight-month due diligence on FTX in 2021 without finding any issues. Singapore police have warned of phishing sites trying to cash in on the confusion surrounding the FTX collapse.