Letters to Editor
Published Date: 04 September 2023

Response to Letter “Singapore treads uneasily in crypto sandbox” - Financial Times, 22 August 2023

Thomas See’s letter, “Singapore treads uneasily in crypto sandbox” (August 22), conflates several unrelated issues.

2   First, there is no “crypto sandbox” as such. The FinTech Regulatory Sandbox introduced by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in 2016 supports a broad range of FinTech experimentation. None of the businesses that have to date qualified for this sandbox facilitate cryptocurrency payments.

3   Second, it is not clear what he means by MAS is “in effect linking retail bank deposits to crypto payments” by allowing crypto companies access to Singapore’s FAST interbank payment system. Any individual or company, including a cryptocurrency company, can use FAST as long as it has a bank account. Payments through FAST are in fiat currencies, not cryptocurrencies. Payment transactions between a customer and a cryptocurrency company through FAST does not mean the customer’s bank deposits are linked to that company.  

4   Third, the recent malware scam cases in Singapore that Mr See cites have nothing to do with cryptocurrencies. These scams entail fraudsters taking control of customers’ mobile devices and effecting unauthorised transfers through the banking system in fiat currencies.

5   We agree that cryptocurrencies pose money laundering (ML) as well as risks to retail customers. MAS grants licenses to cryptocurrency players only if they have robust anti-ML controls; most applicants have not been successful. MAS has also consulted the public on a suite of regulatory measures to mitigate the risks posed by cryptocurrencies to retail customers.  As these measures are progressively implemented from the end of this year onwards, Singapore will have one of the strictest regulatory regimes in the world governing retail access to cryptocurrencies.  

Dawn Chew
Director (Corporate Communications)
Monetary Authority of Singapore