The Monetary Authority of Singapore has warned eight digital token exchanges operating in the country over unauthorized securities trading. The regulator also stopped an initial coin offering, prompting its issuer to return all funds received from Singapore-based investors.
Eight Token Exchanges Warned
Singapore’s central bank and financial regulator, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), announced on Thursday that it has “warned eight digital token exchanges in Singapore not to facilitate trading in digital tokens that are securities or futures contracts without MAS’ authorisation.” Without naming the eight platforms, the announcement states that under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA):
If the digital tokens constitute securities or futures contracts, the exchanges must immediately cease the trading of such digital tokens until they have been authorised as an approved exchange or recognised market operator by MAS
However, MAS did not indicate that these platforms are engaged in suspicious activities or that there are complaints about them, unlike a few other regulators that recently issued warnings about exchange platforms.
This week, the Ontario Securities Commission issued a warning on five unlicensed crypto firms it had received complaints about. In March, French regulator Autorité des Marchés Financiers warned of 15 unauthorized crypto investment platforms and Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority started publishing a list of crypto platforms showing signs of fraud.
ICO Issuer Warned Amid Growing Market
In addition, MAS “also warned an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) issuer to stop the offering of its digital tokens in Singapore.” According to the announcement, MAS has assessed that this issuer’s “tokens represented equity ownership in a company and therefore would be considered as securities under the SFA.” Citing that the tokens are offered “without a MAS-registered prospectus, which is a SFA requirement,” the regulator revealed:
The [ICO] issuer has ceased the offer and has taken remedial actions to comply with MAS’ regulations. It has also returned all funds received from Singapore-based investors.
However, the central bank “declined to name the ICO and it is not clear how much was taken from investors or when the offering was issued,” the Strait Times reported on Thursday.
Recently, news.Bitcoin.com reported that Singapore has emerged as a mecca for token sales, especially for companies from China and South Korea where ICOs are banned. Earlier this month, digital asset banknote manufacturer Tangem launched smart bitcoin banknotes at the Megafash Suntec City store in Singapore.
Lee Boon Ngiap, MAS’ Assistant Managing Director (Capital Markets), confirmed that “the number of digital token exchanges and digital token offerings in Singapore has been increasing.” He clarified:
We do not see a need to restrict them if they are bona fide businesses. But if any digital token exchange, issuer or intermediary breaches our securities laws, MAS will take firm action.
What do you think of MAS’ warnings? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Financial Tribune, and MAS.
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