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JAN 10, 2024

Singapore regulator adds imToken crypto wallet to Investor Alert List

by CoinNess Global

Singapore's Monetary Authority (MAS) has recently added the non-custodial crypto wallet, imToken, to its Investor Alert List, prompting a response from the Singapore-based company.

Identifying unregulated entities

According to the official MAS website, imToken found its place on the alert list on Dec. 5. This regulatory move demonstrates that MAS is monitoring the evolving crypto landscape with a view towards safeguarding investors from potential risks.
The list serves as a repository of unregulated entities that might be mistakenly perceived as licensed or regulated by MAS. The regulatory body had also flagged BKEX digital asset exchange in December. BKEX had suspended withdrawals earlier in the year, having gotten caught up in an investigation surrounding money laundering activity on the platform. More recently, the company has ceased operations.

Company response

In response to being added to MAS's alert list, imToken took to the X social media platform (formerly Twitter) to address user concerns on Tuesday. The non-custodial wallet clarified that it had not applied for a financial business license in Singapore, the primary reason for its listing.
Notwithstanding that, ImToken reassured its users that their assets remain unaffected due to the platform's decentralized nature. The company outlined that it is actively engaging with MAS to clarify its business model and aims to have imToken removed from the Investor Alert List.
This development highlights the ongoing dialogue between crypto platforms and regulatory bodies, emphasizing the need for clear communication and compliance within the evolving crypto regulatory landscape. As MAS continues to take decisive actions, the industry remains under scrutiny, necessitating collaboration between regulators and crypto entities for a well-balanced and secure financial ecosystem.

Unintended consequences

MAS has taken a proactive approach to regulation in the crypto space. That has been evidenced in previous actions such as blacklisting Binance in 2021, leading to Binance relocating its operations to Dubai. That blacklisting turned out to provide a classic example of the law of unintended consequences.
With Binance having removed itself from the local market following the blacklisting, many Singaporeans chose to use FTX instead. FTX subsequently failed in November 2022, leaving a disproportionate number of Singaporean customers out of pocket.
The inclusion of imToken on the alert list is particularly noteworthy amid the growing popularity of non-custodial wallets. Statista data from 2022 indicates that 81 million users have adopted non-custodial wallets, providing them with greater control over private keys and crypto assets. However, this surge in usage has also brought about increased regulatory attention due to associated risks.
Founded in 2016, imToken was initially launched in Hangzhou, China, prior to relocating its headquarters to Singapore. At various stages, the firm has been funded by companies such as IDG Capital, Qiming Venture Partners and HashKey.
HashKey has also collaborated with the company by extending trading services to imToken wallet users, including direct bank transfers. In 2021 imToken partnered with U.S. blockchain infrastructure provider Infinity Stones in order to enable an in-wallet ETH2.0 staking service.
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