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Coinbase criticizes Singapore’s crypto regulations


Brian Armstrong, co-founder and CEO of Coinbase chats with Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) during the Singapore Fintech Festival, in Singapore, on Friday, November 4, 2022.

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SINGAPORE – Co-Founder and CEO of US-based crypto exchange platform CoinbaseBrian Armstrong says that Singapore wants to be a forward-looking regulator, but is not welcoming to crypto trading.

The city government has repeatedly warned that cryptocurrencies are highly speculative and volatile after many retail investors lost large amounts of their savings. It has also banned cryptocurrency advertising in public areas and on social media.

“Singapore wants to be a Web3 hub, and then at the same time say, ‘Oh, we’re not going to really allow retail trading or self-hosted wallets to be available,'” Armstrong said at the Singapore FinTech Festival 2022. He spoke with Sopnendu Mohanty, the chief fintech officer of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Armstrong added: “The two don’t go together in my mind, and I would like to see Singapore embrace the retail and self-hosted wallet business.”

It comes after Coinbase take in-principle approval from MAS to provide digital payment token services in the city-state.

MAS says Singapore has no 'real use case' for a central bank digital currency

To date, Singapore has only issued 17 approvals and permits in principle after a rigorous selection process following 180 applications. Binance is said to have withdrawn its application to operate in the city earlier this year after being in regulatory limbo for months.

In response, Singapore’s Mohanty Monetary Authority said that today’s retail investors were “facing risks they didn’t understand they were taking.”

“We believe Web 3.0 is the future, and what we want to do is make sure that the money that can be traded on this ecosystem is seen as a safe asset, a safe currency. As long as that’s the way to go. , we’re fine.” Mohanty.

Mohanty went on to challenge Armstrong to name regulations that he felt needed reconsideration.

“For centralized exchanges and custodians [like Coinbase], I think they should be treated like other financial services businesses. Anti-money laundering safeguards are required. There have to be audits that they need to complete, don’t move money, disclose to clients appropriately, Armstrong said.

“Cryptocurrencies should not be treated adversely; they should be treated equally with other financial services regulations.”

In response, Mohanty gave an example of a customer using a banking app.

“We, as a regulator, don’t worry about internet protocols. We only care about customers who have come to the bank. It is the responsibility of the bank to ensure that it protects its customers. himself,” he added.

CNBC has reached out to MAS and Coinbase for further comment.

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