Singapore’s financial regulator, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has recently warned eight cryptocurrency exchanges not to facilitate unauthorized trading of cryptocurrencies that can be considered securities, or of futures contracts
According to a statement the regulator issued, the platforms, which weren’t named, need the organization’s approval before allowing their users to trade said cryptocurrencies or futures contracts.
Singapore is notably seen as one of the more welcoming nations when it comes to cryptocurrency-related businesses. The number of cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offering (ICO) issuers has been growing in the country. MAS assistant managing director for capital markets, Lee Boon Ngiap, stated:
“We do not see a need to restrict them if they are bona fide businesses. But if any digital token exchange, issuer or intermediary breaches our securities laws, MAS will take firm action.“
The MAS official added that the public “should be aware that there is no regulatory safeguard if they choose to trade on unregulated digital token exchanges or invest in digital tokens that fall outside the remit of MAS’ rules.”
The regulator has also ordered an ICO issuer, whose tokens were reportedly being offered in exchange for equity ownership, to stop its token sale, and to take action to comply with Singapore’s regulations. This saw the unnamed ICO issuer return the funds it received from Singapore-based investors.
Regulators throughout the world have been working on improving oversight over the cryptocurrency industry, which most believe is ripe with fraud. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has in the past subpoenaed firms behind ICOs as it suspected they could be breaking the law.
The SEC has recently launchd its own fake ICO, in an attempt to warn investors. Users who attempted to invest in the fake cryptocurrency – dubbed HoweyCoin – were redirected to an educational website that warned them about potential red flags ICOs often have.
As covered, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has recently launched a criminal probe to look into potential bitcoin price manipulation. The government’s investigation is said to be in its early stages, and will explore illegal activities including spoofing and wash trading.