Monetary Authority of Singapore bans digital currency ads in public places

Monetary Authority of Singapore bans digital currency ads in public places

Singapore has joined the growing list of countries cracking down on digital currency advertisements. The country’s central bank has banned virtual asset service providers (VASPs) from advertising in public spaces or turning to social media influencers.

In the new guidelines issued recently on the provision of digital payment token (DPT) services to the public, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said that trading in DPTs is highly risky and unsuitable for the general public. 

“The public should not be encouraged to engage in the trading of DPTs,” the MAS said.

In line with dissuading Singaporeans from investing in digital currencies, Singapore’s central bank has banned displaying their ads in public places. This, it believes, trivializes the high risk of trading DPTs.

“This includes placing of any form of advertisements or promotional materials in public areas such as Singapore public transport, public transport venues, broadcast media or periodical publications, third party websites, social media platforms, public events or roadshows,” it said.

The MAS directive states that VASPs can only promote their services on their own websites or native mobile applications. They can also advertise their products via their official social media channels “but must not trivialise the risks of trading in DPTs in a manner that is inconsistent with or contradicts the risk disclosures under the PS Act.”

The regulator has also prohibited the VASPs from turning to social media influencers, a practice that has taken off in recent years. Hundreds of VASPs have launched marketing campaigns with celebrities, many of which have been successful. Several have involved scams, and celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Kevin Hart have found themselves on the receiving end of lawsuits by investors who lost millions.

MAS has prohibited the use of social media influencers, including on joint promotional campaigns to solicit new customers. They must also not promote their products on third-party websites.

The ban comes just as the Spanish securities regulator announced new measures for influencers who advertise digital assets. In its new directive, the CNMV announced that influencers with more than 100,000 followers must notify the regulator of their ad campaigns ten days in advance, with violators facing up to $340,000 in fines.

Aside from the ads, the MAS also banned digital currency ATMS. It claimed that the ATMs lead investors to jump on without carefully considering the ramifications of their actions, once again circling back to the trivialization of digital asset investment.

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