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Singapore’s PM falls victim to fake token scam

Bitcoin in front of Singapore flag

Singapore’s monetary authority issues advisory to warn users of investing in the volatile crypto market

Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore, has been caught up in a cryptocurrency scam after a fake profile stealing the identity of the PM was set up on the social token platform BitClout to sell tokens using the information from his Twitter account.

The incident has prompted the Monetary Authority of Singapore to issue an advisory warning to crypto investors in the country, reinstating the dangers of engaging with such a volatile market.

“I have discovered that my Twitter profile (and others as well) has been used without my permission or knowledge on a blockchain platform that allows users to buy and speculate with its proprietary cryptocurrency”, the prime minister said in a statement about the incident.

He added that Singaporeans must “remain vigilant when dealing with cryptocurrency platforms”. BitClout reportedly used the Prime Minister’s name to sell tokens worth a near combined $10,000.

Forty-eight hours after the Prime Minister’s statement, the chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Tharman Shanmugaratnam warned the public of the inherent risk in speculating in the crypto space, asserting that retail investors should stay away from cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrencies can be highly volatile, as their value is typically not related to any economic fundamentals. They are hence highly risky as investment products, and certainly not suitable for retail investors”, said Shanmugaratnam, as reported by BNN Bloomberg.

Bitcoin has grown by over 1000% in the past year, increasing in popularity both among institutional investors and the general public. This has prompted many governments and regulatory bodies to issue warnings similar to those by Loong and Shanmugaratnam.

Cryptocurrencies’ bulging market cap has essentially coerced regulators to stop categorising them as a “fringe asset” and instead focus on improving regulations in the digital asset space.

Shanmugaratnam explained Singapore will continue to closely monitor the developments in the crypto space and attempt to keep up the balance between technological progress and regulatory pace.

“The crypto-assets space is constantly evolving. MAS has been closely monitoring developments and will continue to adapt its rules as needed to ensure that regulation remains effective and commensurate with the risks posed”, said Shanmugaratnam.

He concluded by stating that it comes down to the investors who on their part must exercise due caution while trading cryptocurrencies and educate themselves of the risks involved.

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