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Explore other ways to protect retail investors, say industry players after MAS curbs crypto ads

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SINGAPORE: While they understood the need to shield retail investors from the potential risks of cryptocurrencies, some industry players say there are other ways to do so instead of a clampdown on consumer advertising.They were responding to a new set of guidelines announced by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Monday (Jan 17), which prohibited cryptocurrency trading service providers from taking up public advertisements and engaging third parties like social media influencers.This means that companies can only market or advertise on their own corporate websites, mobile applications or official social media accounts.MAS said the new guidelines are intended to discourage cryptocurrency trading by the man in the street because of the “high risks” involved.Mr Chia Hock Lai, co-chairman of the Blockchain Association Singapore, said the central bank’s latest move is consistent with its stance that cryptocurrency trading is not suitable for retail investors but “it would have been better if the industry was consulted” to arrive at a more balanced approach.He suggested classifying cryptocurrencies as specified investment products, such as structured warrants or futures, which require retail investors to go through an assessment before being allowed to invest. “This will help to address the concern of ignorant retail investors getting involved but it does not deter more sophisticated investors or those who know what they are getting into,” said Mr Chia.“For example in general, younger investors prefer digital assets to traditional investments, and they understand blockchain.

So we have to strike a balance.”The regulator’s latest guidelines also prohibit cryptocurrency firms from providing physical automated teller

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