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Singapore Warns Crypto Players Not to Woo Public via Ads

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After India, Singapore has now warned cryptocurrency and digital token providers not to promote or advertise their digital tokens via various media platforms to the general public.

In new guidelines, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said that digital payment token (DPT or more commonly known as cryptocurrency) service providers should not promote their DPT services to the general public in Singapore.

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The new guidelines also apply to banks and payment institutions that offer such services. These will further be expanded to include the transfer of cryptocurrencies and the provision of wallet services.

“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 trivializes the high risks of trading in DPTs, nor engage in marketing activities that target the general public,” said Loo Siew Yee, MAS Assistant Managing Director (Policy, Payments, and Financial Crime).

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DPT service providers include payment institutions, banks, and other financial institutions, as well as applicants under the Payment Services Act (PS Act).

The authority warned that trading cryptocurrencies is “highly risky” and not suitable for the general public, as the prices of crypto are subject to sharp speculative swings.

“MAS has observed that some DPT service providers have been actively promoting their services through online and physical advertisements or through the provision of physical automated teller machines (ATM) in public areas. This could encourage consumers to trade DPTs on impulse, without fully understanding the attendant risks,” the authority said in a statement late on Monday.

The new guidelines clarify that DPT service providers should not engage in marketing or advertising of DPT services via all kinds of advertisements across the media as well as social media influencers.

The Indian government in November last year raised concerns over crypto ads promising wild returns.

Indian crypto players bombarded the public with advertisements across platforms — doubling down on their marketing spend when the cryptocurrencies are yet to be accepted as legal tender and lack a legal framework and regulatory norms in the country.

An advertisement by the Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC), a part of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) with industry players like CoinSwitch Kuber, CoinDCX, WazirX, and Zebpay on board, had claimed that crores of Indians have invested over Rs 6 lakh crore in crypto assets to date.

Meanwhile, the much-awaited ‘Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021’, did not make it to the table during the Winter Session of Parliament amid growing concerns over the misuse of digital coins on the Dark Web for terror acts and drugs trafficking by militant organizations, and for money laundering and hawala-based transactions.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that all democratic countries need to work together on cryptocurrency to ensure that it does not end up in the wrong hands.

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