Singapore: MAS chief hopes cryptocurrency tech will survive “crash”

Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), speaks at the Singapore Fintech Conference in Singapore, on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg

Singapore’s central bank head said on Monday he hoped the technologies underpinning cryptocurrencies such as blockchain would not be undermined by an eventual crash in the virtual coins.

The city-state is among many global central banks voicing concern about potential losses for citizens and money laundering through cryptocurrencies. But it is carrying out extensive research into the distributed ledger technology that underlies bitcoin.

“I do hope when the fever has gone away, when the crash has happened, it will not undermine the much deeper, and more meaningful technology associated with digital currencies and blockchain,” Ravi Menon, the managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said at a UBS Wealth Insights event in Singapore.

South Korea, a crucial source of global demand for cryptocurrencies, said last week it plans to ban cryptocurrency trading, a move that sent bitcoin and other virtual coin prices plummeting.

The value of bitcoin surged around 1,500 percent last year to peak at nearly $20,000 in December. However, it has broadly fallen since then and on Monday was trading around $13,572 on Luxembourg-based Bitstamp.

On a question of whether central banks should launch cryptocurrencies to sell directly to the public, Menon said that while he couldn’t rule it out in Singapore, he wasn’t sure it would be a good idea.

In one of the only examples of a country planning to launch a cryptocurrency, crisis-hit Venezuela plans a virtual token backed by oil as a way to try to raise hard currency and to evade financial sanctions imposed by Washington.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.