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MAS discourages cryptocurrency firms from advertising their 'highly risky' services in public spaces

SINGAPORE — The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued a set of guidelines discouraging cryptocurrency firms from advertising their services in public areas or by engaging third parties, including social media influencers. 

Cryptocurrencies such as ethereum (pictured) and bitcoin have grown in popularity among investors in recent years but their prices have been subject to wild fluctuations.

Cryptocurrencies such as ethereum (pictured) and bitcoin have grown in popularity among investors in recent years but their prices have been subject to wild fluctuations.

SINGAPORE — The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued a set of guidelines discouraging cryptocurrency firms from advertising their services in public areas or by engaging third parties, including social media influencers. 

In a media statement on Monday (Jan 17) emphasising the "highly risky" nature of trading in cryptocurrencies, the central bank said that public spaces include public transport, public transport venues, public websites, social media platforms as well as broadcast and print media. 

These firms are also discouraged from providing physical automated teller machines (ATMs) to provide cryptocurrency services. 

MAS said that it has observed that cryptocurrency firms, or what it calls digital payment token (DPT) companies, have been actively promoting their services in Singapore, whether through physical or online advertisements or by providing ATMs in public areas. 

"MAS has consistently warned that trading DPTs is highly risky and not suitable for the general public, as the prices of DPTs are subject to sharp speculative swings," said the central bank. 

It added that marketing and advertising campaigns could "encourage consumers to trade DPTs on impulse, without fully understanding the attendant risks". 

However, it added that these companies may still advertise on their own corporate websites, mobile applications or official social media accounts. 

Companies that will be affected by this set of guidelines include those that provide services such as the transfer of cryptocurrencies, the provision of cryptocurrency wallets and the exchange of cryptocurrencies without possession of moneys. 

Ms Loo Siew Yee, assistant managing director of policy, payments and financial crimes at MAS, said that the central bank still encourages the development of blockchain technology and the innovative application of crypto tokens. 

"But the trading of cryptocurrencies is highly risky and not suitable for the general public. DPT service providers should therefore not portray the trading of DPTs in a manner that trivialises the high risks of trading in DPTs, or engage in marketing activities that target the general public," she added. 

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