Singapore Seeks to ‘Balance’ Economic Innovation While Shielding Public From the Metaverse

Singaporeans are being asked to participate “responsibly” inside the metaverse in the face of potentially increasing regulation

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Singapore skyline. Source: Shutterstock

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key takeaways

  • Singapore is “closely studying” the risk non-fungible tokens, decentralized finance and the financial events inside the metaverse pose to its citizens, according to the country’s Minister for Communications
  • The minister also cautioned those involved to “play their part by participating responsibly in the metaverse.”

Singapore is “closely studying” the impact new technologies such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralized finance (DeFi) and the metaverse pose to its citizens, the country’s Minister for Communications and Information revealed during a parliamentary sitting on Tuesday.

“The government will seek to balance between promoting economic vitality, preserving social stability and protecting public security in the digital domain,” minister S. Iswaran said.

The minister also cautioned those involved to “play their part by participating responsibly in the metaverse.”

The minister’s comments come as developments in the NFTs sector as well as in DeFi have shown those investing remain vulnerable to rug pulls — a scam whereby creators of a project up and vanish with investors’ funds.

Singapore, known for its crypto-friendly stance and seemingly welcoming view on the nascent industry, has often come at odds with crypto businesses attempting to set up shop in the island-city-state.

Under a licensing regime, those initial coin offerings and crypto exchanges working inside Singapore’s jurisdiction are required to register with the country’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Last year, more than 100 out of around 170 businesses that had applied for a digital payment token license were denied by MAS or were withdrawn altogether, Nikkei Asia reported in December.

Similarly, Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trade volume, decided to withdraw its application late last year for its Singaporean entity Binance.sg, citing a sidestep investment into Singaporean exchange, HGX.


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