Singapore Calls For Consistency In Global Crypto Regulations

Zipmex crypto exchange has been granted a moratorium by Singapore’s High Court until Dec 2, 2022, to formulate a funding plan. This follows Zipmex’s application for a 6-months moratorium to solve its liquidity crisis. Zipmex faced liquidity problems totalling over US$50 million due to exposure to troubled crypto lenders Babel Finance and the Celsius Network.

Zipmex joins a list of other digital asset companies, including Three Arrows Capital, Voyager Digital, Vauld, and Hodlnaut that have faced liquidity troubles this year. The moratorium comes in the face of Zipmex’s efforts to seek protection from lawsuits. In July 2022, Zipmex suspended withdrawals from its platform in July 2022 and has now eased withdrawals on some tokens.

Zipmex has continued to offer regular updates to its stakeholders. An official statement read: “Zipmex wishes to continuously provide transparency and clarity regarding the situation we are facing to customers, investors and all related parties. We would like to reassure you that we have sincere intentions and are determined to solve the problems that have arisen; our customers’ assets are our priority”.

Although some of the above-failed crypto lenders are reported to be Singapore-based, this has been refuted by Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). At the MAS Annual Report 2021/2022 Media Conference on July 19, 2022, Menon said that the crypto lenders in question were not licensed or regulated by the MAS, nor had they sought exemption from holding any licence. Menon said: “In reality, these so-called “Singapore-based” crypto firms have little to do with crypto-related regulation in Singapore”.

In an August 1, 2022 reply to a Parliamentary Question on licences awarded to Digital Payment Token (DPT) service providers and plans to promote Singapore as a cryptocurrency hub, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said: “From a developmental perspective, MAS’ aim has been and remains to enable the growth of an innovative and responsible digital asset ecosystem. Our main focus has been on innovations in distributed ledger technologies that can enhance efficiencies in key wholesale market activities such as trade finance, cross-border payments, and the capital markets. MAS is working closely with the industry on these areas”. 

The focus of the MAS is geared towards wholesale crypto market activities. Shanmugaratnam further said: “MAS will continue to adopt a risk-focused approach to regulating the digital asset ecosystem, to facilitate innovation and anchor high-quality players with strong risk management and value propositions, while seeking to limit retail participation in the cryptocurrency market”.

Due to the interrelatedness of the crypto markets, crypto company failures in one part of the world may result in a global contagion. Shanmugaratnam said: “Given the cross-border nature of cryptocurrency services, there needs to be broad regulatory consistency globally on rules to preserve market integrity, investor protection and financial stability”.

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