Singapore. In the Bloomberg New Economy Forum moderated by Bloomberg News editor-in-chief John Micklethwait, DPM Wong said that the republic is open to digital asset innovation, but not crypto speculation and trading.
“We were on the right track to go big on digital assets innovation, which is an important enabler and something that potentially can transform financial markets, cross-border payments, settlements, capital markets,” said DPM Wong.
“But, and we’ve said this for a long time, even when people criticise us for saying that… we need to take a strong stance against crypto speculation and trading, especially by retail investors,” he added.
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Micklethwait noted that Singapore is one of the largest crypto centres in the world. FTX former chief executive Sam Bankman-Fried even attended the Singapore FinTech Festival.
“Even before FTX happened, we had put out a consultation paper on tightening regulatory rules around this aspect – on crypto trading, on retail investors’ access to crypto,” said DPM Wong. He also said that they will continually review the rules as necessary, but Singapore will continue to embrace digital asset innovation since it has a lot of potential.
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His remarks came after Temasek, a Singapore investment company, said that it will write off a $275 million or S$377 million investment in FTX regardless of the outcome of its bankruptcy protection filing.
When asked if the collapse of FTX was necessary for the crypto industry as it matures, Mr. Wong replied “Partly. But in the FTX case, there are very serious allegations that amount to potential fraud, even. So it’s not just about its governance, it’s a whole range of issues. We’ll have to see what happens with the investigations. But I think there was a bit of a bubble and now we’re starting to see some shaking out as well.”
In the discussion. Mr. Wong was also asked about US-China relations after the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Us President Joe Biden. He said that it was the beginning of a long and difficult journey.
When concerns over income and wealth inequalities were discussed, Mr. Wong assured Singaporeans that the government is doing its best to enable people to have access to affordable housing. He also stated that the growth in Singapore is inclusive.
“The whole basis of the Singapore story is one of the triumph of openness, that’s why it’s so important, even existential, for us to keep ourselves open,” he said. “But we know that there are downsides to an open economy… We are clear-eyed about the challenges and we will deal with these downsides.”
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Image: DPM Lawrence Wong at Bloomberg New Economy Forum, Source: Lawrence Wong/Facebook