Singapore to target DeFi potentials with new JPMorgan partnership

Project Guardian is a collaboration between the regulator and several key financial players who will serve as trust anchors.

Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has launched a digital asset pilot program to examine the potential of asset tokenization and decentralized finance tagged “Project Guardian.”

Project Guardian is a collaboration between the regulator and several key financial players who will serve as trust anchors. The pilot involves institutions such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Marketnode Pte, and DBS Bank Ltd.

The project aims to develop use cases for asset tokenization in several sectors like open, interoperable networks and DeFi protocols that institutions can use. Its pilot scheme will examine how DeFi can be applied through tokenized bonds and deposit liquidity pools in wholesale funding markets.

The deputy prime minister and coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, Heng Swee Keat, announced the initiative during the Asia Tech x Singapore summit. 

According to the chief fintech officer at the MAS, Sopnendu Mohanty, 

“Through practical experimentation with the financial industry and the broader ecosystem, we seek to sharpen our understanding in this rapidly transforming digital assets ecosystem.”

Singapore’s strict crypto regulations

Singapore is one of the first countries to regulate cryptocurrencies and the use of blockchain technology. It established a licensing regime for crypto companies a few years ago.

But the applicants have been frustrated by the process, which has led to delayed approvals. The country also recently imposed a ban on crypto advertising. This ban is part of Singapur’s efforts to mitigate the risks of crypto assets.

Earlier this year, the managing director of MAS, Ravi Menon, warned about the risks of cryptocurrencies. He said that malicious players could use digital assets for terrorism financing and money laundering. But a stringent licensing process could help turn the country into a “responsible global crypto hub.”

However, the move has led crypto companies to move to other more friendly jurisdictions like Dubai. In recent months, several crypto companies with headquarters in Singapore, such as ByBit Fintech Ltd, Three Arrows, and Binance Holdings Ltd, have moved their headquarters or a significant part of their operations to Dubai.

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