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January 24, 2023 Singapore

‘Very clear’ Cryptocurrencies Ought to be Controlled to Fight Against Money Laundering

DAVOS – A panel of regulators and bankers at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday opined that cryptocurrency has to be regulated to prevent money laundering and other financial crimes.

Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam of Singapore, who participated in the panel, stated that it is “quite evident” that the cryptocurrency industry needs to be regulated in a way comparable to traditional finance in order to prevent issues like money laundering.

But when it comes to regulating cryptocurrency in the same way as banks and insurance firms for the sake of financial stability, he remarked during the discussion on banking, there is a need to step back and pose a fundamental philosophical question.

Does that validate something that is completely hypothetical by its very nature? And in truth, a little bonkers? “, declared Mr. Tharman, who also serves as chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Coordinating Minister for Social Policies.

“Or are we better off just being very clear about what constitutes an uncontrolled market and that investing in it is done at your own risk?” I tend to like the latter viewpoint a little more.

Mr. Tharman argued that consumer education is necessary in order to make it abundantly clear that experimenting with cryptocurrencies is a foolish risk that must be taken on one’s own dime.

“And then you apply exactly the same restrictions to it if cryptocurrency, blockchain, or any other component of that ecosystem wants to engage in activities that traditional finance is engaging in. The same restrictions apply for capital liquidity and reserve backing, he continued. People are quite clear, then. For everything, there is a single regulatory system. And buyer beware if you’re not within the regulatory framework.

Francois Villeroy de Galhau, governor of the Bank of France, who was a panelist as well, suggested that nations hasten the implementation of regulations for non-bank financial institutions, beginning with bitcoin businesses.

“We are unable to claim that the crypto winter has ended. You don’t need to manage it. He added that calls for a ban are “a bit overstated,” but that we must control. “We must coordinate our regulatory efforts. International law must exist; it is of the utmost importance.

After FTX, the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, abruptly collapsed in November 2022, pressure to enact stricter regulations on cryptocurrencies increased. The stablecoin Terra-Luna and the cryptocurrency hedge fund Three Arrows Capital are two other well-known collapses.

Since reaching a peak of almost US$3 trillion in November 2021, the market capitalization of cryptocurrency companies has fallen to about US$1 trillion (S$1.3 trillion) today.

A second panelist, UBS chairman Colm Kelleher, referred to blockchain technology as “unstoppable” and claimed that it will “eliminate massive operational friction, cut costs, and, handled properly, will be a very good value additive to the chain.”

But in order to “potentially justify selling that product as it is currently constructed,” he said, “you cannot reasonably justify not having know your customer” standards and anti-money laundering regulations in place.

Mr. Kelleher added that the Swiss private bank had investors looking to invest in coins.

“We needed to determine what was appropriate for those investors. What are our responsibilities in terms of compliance and fiduciary duty?” he said.

“We haven’t responded to those queries, and in many ways, I believe we escaped serious injury because of how quickly this situation escalated, but it will resurface in some capacity. In order to accommodate that for our clients, we are searching for the regulatory framework that will let us to do so.

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