S'pore investors think more regulation is needed in crypto: Poll

In Hong Kong poll, 34 per cent of retail investors said a lack of regulation was a key barrier to cryptocurrency adoption. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Singapore retail investors topped a global poll for saying that the lack of regulation is a key barrier in cryptocurrency adoption.

A survey found that 37 per cent of the 1,004 Singapore retail investors aged 16 and above felt this way, in a poll commissioned by Luxembourg-based exchange Bitstamp.

This was higher than 34 per cent from Hong Kong and Spain, as well as 32 per cent from Italy, which took the third spot.

Singapore also has the highest percentage of institutional investors (32 per cent) who think there is not enough regulation in the industry.

The poll included more than 28,000 retail and institutional investors across 23 jurisdictions including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, the United States and South Africa.

Of the more than 5,000 institutional investors polled, 252 were from Singapore.

The majority of Singapore retail investors (53 per cent) said the top barrier to crypto adoption is risk, which is too high.

The survey was conducted in mid-May to early June, in the aftermath of the crash of stablecoin TerraUSD and its sister token Luna, marking the start of a crypto rout.

It found that more than half of the Singapore retail investors polled (56 per cent) believed crypto to be trustworthy.

More than one in two retail investors polled currently dabble in crypto.

Just over half invest either daily or weekly.

Nearly one in two said they are somewhat knowledgeable in this area.

Institutional investors were more confident, with more than 61 per cent considering themselves to be very knowledgeable in crypto.

That said, only 18 per cent of institutional investors in Singapore cautiously recommend crypto to others.

Bitstamp global chief executive Jean-Baptiste Graftieaux believes the current crypto winter will weed out companies and projects that do not have sound practices or the resources to build for the future in place.

"Although trust in crypto is still buoyant across institutions, institutional investors are right to be prudent with their market participation and advice to clients during this period," he said.

Singapore's regulators are going to make it harder for the masses to trade in crypto, but will not ban such activities.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Monday said it is contemplating having customer suitability tests and restricting the use of leverage and credit facilities for crypto trading.

It warned that crypto is "highly hazardous" for retail investors as they are extremely volatile, not to mention that the market is fraught with risks of manipulation.

But MAS noted that many consumers "seem to be irrationally oblivious" and are still enticed by the prospect of sharp crypto price increases.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.