Crypto ATMs halted in Singapore after marketing clampdown

Singapore's monetary authority has ordered the closure of cryptocurrency ATMs, which it states could encourage people to trade on impulse. — REUTERS/File Photo

Cryptocurrency ATMs, one visible reminder of Singaporeans’ rising appetite for digital tokens, are being closed down as the city-state moves to dramatically limit consumer marketing of crypto.

Daenerys & Co., Singapore’s biggest operator of the machines, ceased its services to comply with the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s request, the company said late Tuesday.

"MAS’s new guidelines regarding ATMs were an unexpected surprise,” Daenerys said in a reply to questions from Bloomberg.

The five machines, mostly located in malls around Singapore, offered people a convenient way to buy tokens like Bitcoin and Ether using fiat currency.

But the notion of a fast and easy way into crypto trading for retail investors didn’t sit well with regulators, who explicitly mentioned the ATMs in guidelines released Monday.

Such offerings could encourage people to trade "on impulse,” the MAS said.

Daenerys said it’s keeping the ATMs closed while seeking clarification from the central bank. Another operator, Deodi Pte., shut down its sole machine on Tuesday, it said on its website.

Singapore is far from alone in seeking to prevent citizens from being burned by the notoriously volatile nature of cryptocurrencies. Its missive came after Bitcoin hit a rough patch, tumbling almost 40% from a November peak.

The UK this week proposed tougher rules on billboards that have popped up across the London subway. Spain’s markets regulator has asked that campaigns for digital assets carry a warning to investors that they risk losing all their money.

Daenerys is among more than 100 firms operating various services related to crypto during a grace period while waiting for the MAS to conclude a licensing process. – Bloomberg

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