Response to “Do more to warn public of risks of initial coin offerings” - The Straits Times, 21 May 2018

Dear Editor

We agree with Ms Camilia Ng on the importance of improving consumer awareness of the risks associated with investments in initial coin offerings (ICOs) (“Do more to warn public of risks of initial coin offerings,” Straits Times, 21 May 2018).

Indeed, over the past year, MAS has stepped up efforts to alert consumers of such risks. MAS has issued several advisories to warn consumers to act with extreme caution should they wish to invest in such products. ICO issuers are often located outside Singapore, making it difficult to verify their operations or seek recourse if an ICO turns out to be fraudulent or deceptive. MAS’ consumer advisories were widely featured in local news reports, TV programmes, and online videos. 

MoneySENSE, the national financial education programme, has included in its outreach efforts through TV programmes and online videos, advisories on digital tokens.  MoneySENSE will continue to enhance its financial education initiatives to ensure that the general public, especially those who are more vulnerable, are aware of the risks of ICOs.
MAS will regulate an ICO if it is structured in the form of futures contracts or securities (such as a share or a debt).  Issuers, intermediaries, and operators of platforms that trade in tokens that are futures contracts or securities must comply with relevant requirements on disclosures, licensing and combating of financial crime.  MAS and the relevant authorities will take action against anyone who contravenes our laws or regulations. To-date, no ICO issuer has registered a prospectus with MAS.
To better manage their personal finance and make prudent investments choices, members of the public can visit the MoneySENSE website (http://www.moneysense.gov.sg) and Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/MoneySENSE) for information on resources and programmes.

Jerome Lee
Director (Corporate Communications)
Monetary Authority of Singapore

Last Modified on 25/05/2018