Singapore is now home to its first cryptocurrency café that is located just a street away from its Central Bank. The business is owned and operated by an investor who is promoting his own digital coin.
The café was opened on Thursday, and sells ‘hand brew’ coffee, sandwiches and eco-friendly beauty products, but will only accept payment in the form of Bitcoin, its own virtual currency Ducatus and other cryptocurrencies.
The opening, and promotion of his own currency has come the same week as the Monetary Authority of Singapore expressed concern over cryptocurrencies, warning investors to exercise extreme caution towards the market, as they believe it to be a bubble that could burst at any time.
The café owner and Ducatus CEO Ronny Tome disagreed though, saying;
“We just want to make sure people understand that cryptocurrencies are here to stay…The way technology develops and grows right now, there is no doubt about that. Developments are rapid and the governments maybe have a little bit of an issue to follow through.”
He believes that Singapore are trying to educate people about cryptocurrencies, and is welcome of that, and believes that this should include the warnings; however he disagreed when asked whether he thought it would impact negatively on his business.
Singapore is a hub for financial technology in Asia, so it has to draw the fine line between welcoming these developments, and warning people of the dangers, as well as reducing the financial risk within the borders. The Central bank worries that cryptocurrencies could cause potential losses for the citizens, thanks to the higher risk of money laundering, and is carrying out extensive research into the blockchain technology that surrounds Bitcoin.
Despite actually being one of the more accepting areas for cryptocurrencies, the banks have still managed to shut down cryptocurrency firms and exchanges over recent years. Singapore is definitely not alone when it comes to the concerns surrounding cryptocurrencies and echo other countries. Tim Phillips, Deloittes head of financial crime for Asia Pacific, says;
“The regulators generally around the world are worried about less sophisticated investors getting drawn in to what is a pretty murky and dark market.”
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