Banning Crypto Ads in Singapore: How Have Platforms Changed Their Marketing Strategy? | Advertising

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued guidelines in early 2022 explicitly prohibiting cryptocurrency platforms from promoting their services to the general public in Singapore, meaning they can only advertise on their websites and social media accounts.

These crypto platforms may not advertise or market their services in public areas, for example through advertisements on public transport, public transport locations and public websites, or the engagement of third parties such as social media influencers.

The new regulations are a blow to crypto platforms as it is a tumultuous and uncertain time in the industry, even as blockchain and crypto-related investments in Singapore jumped to $1.48 billion in 2021, according to KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech report. These investments represent 10 times the previous year and almost half of the Asia-Pacific total for 2021.

Caroline Malcolm, head of international policy at Chainalysis, a blockchain data platform, says the move aligns with MAS’ longstanding stance towards the industry, which encourages the development of blockchain technology and the use of cryptography in value-added use cases. However, MAS has always discouraged retail crypto trading due to the perceived risky nature of these markets.

While MAS has subsequently provided industry with clarification on some areas of the guidelines, Malcolm points out that several issues remain unresolved and notes that industry bodies have formed a working group to draft a code of practice for solve these unique problems.

Caroline Malcolm


“The wider impact is on optics and messaging, as such guidelines could be seen as a message that Singapore is cracking down on the sector, making it a less attractive destination for financial innovation,” he said. she has Asia-Pacific Campaign.

“Any negative policy statements or regulatory developments could have the unintended consequence of making Singapore a less attractive destination for such investments. In addition, current market conditions and volatility could also aggravate the situation.”

Singapore’s regulatory approach to crypto advertising is not unique in the global arena. Other jurisdictions have also made clear commitments to support financial innovation and have taken a different approach to ensuring consumer protection.

For example, in the UK and Spain, regulators require crypto promotions to adhere to principles of clarity and fairness while presenting risk information. In India, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has provided advertising guidelines to the industry to protect the interest of consumers and to ensure that advertisements do not mislead consumers.

In Thailand, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has consulted extensively with stakeholders on the draft regulations, and the final rules can be expected in due course.

Singapore Crypto Platforms Response

Singapore’s crypto advertising restrictions have forced crypto companies to re-evaluate their marketing strategies, especially for user acquisition. Advertising dollars are also moving away from media deals in favor of more targeted advertising strategies and a greater focus on improving the underlying product.

Antoine Gross


Antoine Gross, managing director for Southeast Asia at Impact.com, notes that there has been a slowdown in ad spending by brands as they try to navigate restrictions. However, crypto companies still need to acquire new users and capture a higher market share.

“While we see some companies embarking on global brand activations, most marketing teams are currently focusing more on securing ROI and performance from their marketing activities,” he said. Asia-Pacific Campaign.

“However, for Singapore-specific campaigns, the approach requires some adaptation, with a greater need to create partnerships where the result is quality educational content that is timely and informative for the retail investment community. This forces crypto companies to beef up their own content deployment.”

At Eqonex, a crypto exchange, its head of marketing, Gillian De Brondeau, said she had to steer her advertising away from traditional approaches to delivering educational content because factual, educational and informational content is still allowed within their framework. .

“You have to be where your audience is, so working with partners and publishers can be an effective way to reach new customers,” De Brondeau said. Asia-Pacific Campaign.

Rajan Batra, head of media sales at financial portal MoneySmart Group, said he has seen most crypto brands in Singapore focus on their assets such as websites, blogs and social media to promote their products and services. .

“We’ve seen many brands also use industry events targeting the cryptocurrency or finance community to build brand awareness,” he adds.

For example, crypto platform Luno is partnering with MoneySmart to create a “Crypto Starter Kit” to help beginners in the crypto space improve their cryptocurrency financial knowledge in an engaging and visual way.

MoneySmart x Luno Discover Starter Pack


This starter kit includes succinct, jargon-free explanations of basic concepts like blockchain technology and bitcoin to slightly advanced but essential topics like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralized finance (DeFi).

Using personality quizzes, Luno has also incorporated an interactive quiz to help customers understand themselves and gauge their level of understanding of crypto. Over the coming months, the microsite will continue to engage with the public through educational articles, videos, and social media content to encourage building financial literacy.

MoneySmart will also roll out newsletters and social activities to amplify Luno’s education efforts with the masses.

Wang Ying Jie, country marketing and business development manager for Singapore at Luno, notes that Singapore is one of Luno’s key markets and says it has seen more than 59% year-on-year growth. another of its customers in June 2022.

She adds that Luno wants to help investors learn and grow their crypto knowledge to make informed decisions that align with their investment strategy.

“We also want to help new and current investors build a solid foundation of financial literacy. That’s why we also have Luno Discover, a one-stop education center that offers guides to crypto, news and industry insights so that interested investors can assess the long-term potential of this asset class and effectively manage risk,” Wang told Asia-Pacific Campaign.

Dr. Julian Hosp, CEO and co-founder of Cake DeFi, points out that Binance, the largest crypto exchange by trading volumes, has signed TikTok star Khaby Lame as a global brand ambassador for increase understanding and awareness of Web3.

“We are also looking for more strategic marketing partnerships that prioritize customer acquisitions over mass brand awareness,” he said.

For example, the company recently announced two esports and gaming partnerships that were born out of the natural affinity between gamers and crypto enthusiasts. The first was a one-year partnership with gaming platforms, Faceit. The recent one was with Razer Silver, a Razer-backed loyalty rewards program.

The Road Ahead for Crypto Platforms

The Crypto Ads Guidelines in Singapore may signal that the MAS is moving towards the next phase of cryptocurrency regulation as adoption grows globally.

This means that responsible advertising will be paramount to retail clients’ safe exposure to the crypto industry, especially as the asset class is in its infancy and therefore experiencing high volatility.

“Ensuring regulatory clarity with local regulators will be critical to providing an environment that protects the interests of our customers and does not stifle the growth of the cryptocurrency industry,” Wang said.

Gillian de Brondeau


De Brondeau predicts that there will be more regulations in the future. Yet, as the industry matures and users become more informed, regulators could evolve their approach to reflect the rules for marketing traditional financial products and services.

“Crypto, like any other financial industry, involves risk, but we work closely with regulators of the world’s largest financial markets to provide a platform that protects our clients,” he adds. “We want to help create a sustainable digital asset industry that offers the same levels of transparency and checks and balances as traditional finance.”

William L. Hart