Singapore Proposed Legislation Aims to Broaden Oversight of Cryptocurrency Financial Products

The Financial Institutions (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2024, currently under consideration by the Singaporean parliament, seeks to enhance the authority of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), potentially impacting cryptocurrency firms significantly.

The proposed amendments would empower MAS to issue directives to holders of capital markets services licenses (CMSL) engaging in unregulated activities. These CMSL holders, which may include cryptocurrency exchanges and Major Payment Institution (MPI) licensees, are identified in the bill as entities offering unregulated products that could pose contagion risks to their regulated operations.

Specifically, the bill cites examples such as Bitcoin futures and derivatives of other payment tokens traded on overseas exchanges. Although MAS has previously provided guidance on risk mitigation in unregulated business dealings with retail investors, the new legislation aims to broaden MAS’ authority by enabling it to issue written directives specifying minimum standards and safeguards for CMSL holders involved in unregulated activities.

In addition to these regulatory changes, the bill proposes granting MAS the authority to compel individuals to participate in interviews and provide written statements. It also empowers MAS to enter premises without a warrant, obtain court orders for evidence seizure, and approve agents appointed by foreign regulators to inspect financial institutions in Singapore.

These developments follow earlier measures implemented by MAS in November to discourage speculation in cryptocurrency investments and a revision of the regulatory framework for stablecoins in August. The expansion of MAS powers, as outlined in the bill, reflects an ongoing effort to strengthen oversight and regulatory control in the rapidly evolving cryptocurrency landscape.

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