Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the former deputy prime minister and central bank chairman of Singapore, has been elected as the new president of the country. The Singaporean president-elect, who advocates for a single regulatory system for both crypto and traditional finance, wants to make sure that everyone is aware that there is “one regulatory system for everything.” He emphasized: “If you’re outside of the regulatory system, buyer beware.”
President-Elect Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s Crypto Stance
Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a former deputy prime minister, finance minister, and education minister, has been elected as Singapore’s ninth president. He also served as the chairman of the country’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), from 2011 to 2023.
The president-elect has spoken about cryptocurrency and its regulation on multiple occasions before his election. He stated earlier this year that there could only be one regulatory system for both crypto and traditional finance, elaborating:
If crypto or blockchain or any of the parts of that ecosystem would like to do things that traditional finance is doing, you apply exactly the same regulations to that — capital, liquidity, reserve backing — exactly the same regulations.
“So people are very clear. There is one regulatory system for everything. And if you’re outside of the regulatory system, buyer beware,” Shanmugaratnam clarified at the time.
The former MAS chairman has previously stated that some segments of the crypto market should be regulated, such as stablecoins. He also stressed that all financial activities, whether in crypto or traditional finance, must be regulated to prevent money laundering. “Something is very clear, whether it’s crypto or traditional finance, you gotta regulate for things like money laundering. So that’s very clear,” he said.
Nonetheless, Shanmugaratnam indicated that he is skeptical about investing in cryptocurrencies. The former deputy prime minister shared with other regulators and central bankers during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in January: “If you have to think about regulating crypto the same way we regulate banks, insurance companies, and so on — for prudential reasons, for financial stability reasons — I think we’ve got to take a step back and ask the basic philosophical question: ‘Does that legitimize something that’s inherently purely speculative, and in fact, slightly crazy?’ … Or are we better off just providing ultra clarity as to what’s an unregulated market and if you go in, you go in at your own risk. I lean a bit more towards the latter view.”
While emphasizing the importance of educating consumers about crypto, he reiterated that he prefers the “ultra clarity” approach of making “very clear that this is a risk you are taking at your own expense, and by the way please don’t take that risk because it’s going to be foolish.”
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