Without Crypto, Singapore Risks “Being Left Behind” – MAS Director Asserts

Industry Players Predict Singapore Will Be The First Country To Fully Embrace Bitcoin

Key takeaways

  • Singapore’s Central Bank managing director reveals ambition to make the country a global crypto hub. 
  • Singapore has been championing cryptocurrency regulation and adoption. 
  • Globally, cryptocurrency adoption continues to grow. 

Singapore has been making serious advances in cryptocurrency regulation and adoption. Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has recently revealed its ambition to make the Southeast Asian country a global hub for cryptocurrencies.

According to Ravi Menon, the managing director of the MAS, not getting involved in “crypto-based activities” will expose the country to the risk of getting left behind so it is the country’s ambition to get in the game early.

“With crypto-based activities, it is basically an investment in a prospective future, the shape of which is not clear at this point. But not to get into this game, I think risks Singapore being left behind. Getting early into that game means we can have a head start, and better understand its potential benefits as well as its risks,” he told Bloomberg.

The seasoned regulator envisions a time when cryptocurrencies will become the predominant financial rails and wants his country to be well-positioned. Menon wants Singapore, which already has a reputation for being a thriving global financial hub, to benefit from all the advantages that being a leading cryptocurrency hub would have for them in the future. He believes that beyond being beneficial and disruptive to the financial sector, crypto will also create jobs, add value to services, and bring great gains to the economy.


Currently, the country is championing cryptocurrency regulation on the Asian continent as they believe that it is the proper way to handle the nascent industry. Just last month, Singapore approved licenses for the two cryptocurrency exchanges under its Payment Services Act of 2019 (PS Act). The first of its kind in the country, the exchanges that benefited were DBS Vickers (DBSV) (the brokerage arm of DBS Bank), and Independent Reserve (an Australian cryptocurrency exchange) to provide digital payment token services. Other crypto-companies are still undergoing strict compliance examinations for their license.

The leading banking and financial sector regulator is also working on a Bitcoin-inspired digital currency that will greatly improve the user experience for cross-border transactions called Project Dunbar. The currency is being developed in partnership with the Bank and will utilize global investment bank JPMorgan’s in-house blockchain solution according to Forbes.

Singapore’s strides have put it in stark contrast with its fellow Asian country, China, which has taken the approach of cracking down hard on the cryptocurrency industry.

Elsewhere in the world, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are also receiving more acceptance by governments and regulators. The crypto asset has come as far as becoming accepted as legal tender in El Salvador. Recently too, lawmakers in Australia have begun seriously considering embracing cryptocurrencies in the country, as well as establishing legal structures to recognize decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). The move has culminated in Commonwealth Bank (CBA), becoming the first Australian bank to allow customers trade digital currencies.