Singapore Opens Cryptocurrency Cafe In Spite of Regulator’s Warnings

The Caribbean pitstop, which launched on Thursday, sells “hand brew” coffee, sandwiches and green beauty products and takes bitcoin, its very own digital currency named Ducatus and other cashless payments.

Its push to foster the use of its own currency through commercial enterprise, instead of speculative investment, comes the exact same week the Monetary Authority of Singapore urged investors to exercise “extreme caution” toward the cryptocurrency marketplace, which many feel is in a bubble.

“We just need to make sure people know that cryptocurrencies are here to stay,” Ducatus CEO Ronny Tome told reporters, which he plans to start more cafes in different nations and group up with hotels and travel agencies.

“The way technology develops and grows right now, there is no doubt about that. Developments are rapid and the authorities maybe have a bit of an issue to follow through.”

Tome said that he welcomed Singapore's efforts to educate individuals about cryptocurrencies, including warnings against speculative behaviour, but didn't think that it would affect his organization.

The flourishing international curiosity about cryptocurrencies signifies Singapore – which has positioned itself as a hub for fiscal technology in Asia – must walk a fine line between supporting technological innovation and reducing financial system risk in its borders.

Even though the central bank worries about potential losses because of its citizens and money laundering through cryptocurrencies, it's carrying out extensive research into the blockchain dispersed ledger technology which underlies bitcoin.

Anson Zeall, who heads a local association of cryptocurrency companies in Singapore, said that while the nation promotes itself as a simple place to do business for fintechs, banks are shutting down accounts of several cryptocurrency markets and firms in the past several years.

Singapore's concerns echo those expressed by authorities in other jurisdictions like Australia and South Korea.

Deloitte's mind of financial crime for Asia Pacific, Tim Phillipps, anticipates policymakers' warnings will only increase as the virtual currency investment community broadens.

“The regulators generally round the world are worried about less sophisticated investors getting drawn into what is a fairly black and muddy market,” said Phillipps.

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