In an effort to protect retail investors from potential risks, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced guidelines on Monday that limit cryptocurrency trading service providers from promoting their services to the general public.

Due to a very clear regulatory and operational environment, Singapore is a favoured location for cryptocurrency companies, and it is one of the world's forerunners in developing a formal licensing framework.

However, the authorities in the city-state have frequently warned that trading in digital payment tokens (DPT), or cryptocurrencies, is extremely risky and unsuitable for the general public due to strong speculative swings.

Companies should not market or advertise DPT services in public spaces in Singapore, nor should they employ third parties, such as social media influencers, to promote DPT services to the general public, according to the new guidelines from MAS.

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They are limited to marketing and advertising on their own business websites, mobile applications, and official social media accounts.

According to MAS, it has received approximately 180 applications for DPT licences, with five receiving in-principle approvals. Sixty applications have been withdrawn, and three have been denied. The status of the other applications was not disclosed by MAS.

In a statement, MAS Assistant Managing Director (Policy, Payments, and Financial Crime) Loo Siew Yee said, "MAS strongly welcomes the development of blockchain technology and innovative implementation of crypto tokens in value-adding use cases."

"However, cryptocurrency trading is extremely risky and not suitable for the general public. DPT service providers should not portray DPT trading in a way that trivialises the substantial risks of DPT trading, nor should they engage in marketing activities that are directed at the general public."