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Singapore’s President-Elect Skeptical About Crypto

Singapore’s President-Elect Skeptical About Crypto

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Singapore’s president-elect, former finance minister and MAS chair, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, formerly called crypto assets “highly volatile” and “highly risky as investment products.”

Singapore has elected Tharman Shanmugaratnam as its new president. Shanmugaratnam previously served as the chair of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and as Singapore’s finance minister, amassing more than 70% of the vote. 

The president-elect won the election on September 2 and will be sworn into office on September 14. Shanmugaratnam served as chair of the MAS from 2011 to 2023, when he resigned from Singapore’s parliament and saw the collapse of Terraform Labs and Three Arrows Capital. 

In 2021, the president-elect called crypto assets “highly volatile” and “risky as an investment product” while chairing the MAS. Per a report by BNN Bloomberg, he said at the time:

“Cryptocurrencies can be highly volatile, as their value is typically not related to any economic fundamentals.”


“They are hence highly risky as investment products, and certainly not suitable for retail investors.”

Speaking Out in Favour of Blockchain

Shanmugaratnam reiterated his stance this year while speaking at the World Economic Forum. In his statements, the president-elect said crypto is “inherently purely speculative and in fact slightly crazy.” He suggested regulators provide “ultra-clarity” on digital asset-associated risks.  

According to the president-elect:

“I think we’ve got to take a step back and ask the basic philosophical question: does that legitimize something that’s inherently, purely speculative and, in fact, slightly crazy?”


“Or are we better off just providing ultra-clarity as to what’s an unregulated market?” 

Mr. Shanmugaratnam did, however, speak out in favour of the application of blockchain technology, commenting:

“It may well be that there’ll be some blockchain applications that can provide some disruption and some needed innovation there.”  

The president-elect, said he believes there is a need to interlink traditional real-time domestic payments and sees it as an alternative to blockchain solutions. 

Singapore Bans Staking and Lending for Retail Investors

Singapore recently introduced stricter regulations for digital assets to safeguard customer funds. According to reports, Singapore proposes banning staking and lending activities for retail investors.

The MAS explained these activities are unstable for the retail public. In a statement, the regulator said:

“Regulations alone cannot protect consumers from all losses, given the extremely high risk and speculative nature of digital payment token trading.” 

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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