Cryptocurrencies: MAS assessing if additional regulations required

Singapore's central bank is assessing whether additional regulations are required to protect investors in cryptocurrencies, an official said in a speech released yesterday.

Singapore - which is aiming to be a hub for financial technology and so-called initial coin offerings in Asia - does not regulate virtual currencies.

But last year the authorities called for the public to exercise "extreme caution" over investment in cryptocurrencies.

Its central bank does regulate activities involving virtual currencies if they pose specific risks.

For example, it imposes anti-money laundering requirements on intermediaries providing virtual currency services.

"We are assessing if additional regulations are required for investor protection," Mr Ong Chong Tee, deputy managing director (Financial Supervision) at the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said.

Other countries such as South Korea, where trading in cryptocurrencies is more popular, are looking at ways to regulate that activity.

It has yet to decide how to regulate crypotocurrency trading, a senior government official said, highlighting Seoul's struggles to supervise a market that critics say remains opaque and vulnerable to risks such as money laundering.

"The government hasn't made any conclusion yet. Sufficient consultations should come first," Mr Hong Nam Ki, minister of the office for government policy coordination, told parliament on Tuesday.

Mr Hong said the government's primary desire was to foster transparency in cryptocurrency trading, with regulators monitoring any illegal activity. - REUTERS