Singapore prides itself because the crypto hub within the Southeast Asia and surrounding area, with blockchain being ranked among the many three high trade tendencies within the nation as of 2020 and new cryptocurrency startups being arrange in recent times.
The Financial Authority of Singapore (MAS) has adopted a pro-blockchain stance with beneficial tax remedies and public funding for blockchain improvement. It additionally considers blockchain know-how “elementary” to the financial improvement in Singapore.
Singapore has additionally joined ranks with a handful of nations to arrange a Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Trade Affiliation, devoted to helping small and medium-sized cryptocurrency and blockchain enterprises.
This makes it comparatively simple for locals and foreigners alike to arrange a cryptocurrency enterprise in Singapore, which is why cryptocurrency and blockchain firms are mushrooming right here.
Nevertheless, many startups appear to be merely using tendencies and burning traders’ cash as an alternative of displaying actual outcomes and utility. Worse, a few of them truly show to be pump-and-dump or Ponzi schemes that defraud customers’ cash.
Right here’s a have a look at six cryptocurrency startups which have launched over the previous few years in Singapore, however are actually not in operation.
1. Torque Buying and selling Techniques
Included in 2019 in British Virgin Islands as an internet crypto-currency buying and selling platform by Singaporean Bernard Ong, Torque seemed to be a multi-level advertising and marketing (MLM) funding platform, through which new traders have to put of their cash in addition to recruit new traders to enroll with Torque.
Members are then paid by referral fee downline funding through a unilevel compensation construction.
A multi-level advertising and marketing or pyramid promoting scheme will usually require individuals to pay an upfront cost. In return, the individuals are promised monetary rewards for every further participant recruited, therefore the pyramid-like construction.
As extra salespersons are recruited, individuals hope to get better their upfront prices and earn sizeable income. Nevertheless, such pyramid schemes will finally collapse once they run out of latest recruits, leading to these salespersons on the backside of the pyramid dropping all their upfront prices.
Earlier in February, Bernard introduced the collapse of the corporate and the suspension of all buying and selling actions.
The corporate blamed a dishonest worker that allegedly made unauthorised leveraged buying and selling on the platform and suffered losses, thus draining members’ investing accounts.
A police report has since been lodged in opposition to the worker, who’s allegedly answerable for the losses. Nevertheless, the worker was mentioned to be based mostly exterior of Singapore and couldn’t be contacted.
Bernard had additionally utilized to British Virgin Islands courts to wind up the corporate, which was granted in mid-March this yr.
As of April 2021, there are as much as 115 police studies filed in opposition to Torque Buying and selling Techniques from defrauded traders. It had additionally been reported that many Singaporeans have misplaced their life financial savings and investments of as much as S$1 million from the Torque debacle.
Based in 2015 at a hackathon in Singapore, TenX was a platform that related customers’ belongings saved on the blockchain with “real-world” cost platforms via an all-in-one, blockchain-based crypto platform.
Customers might leverage TenX’s app to retailer various kinds of blockchain belongings in a single place, in addition to use its bodily debit card to pay with crypto at retailers world wide.
In 2017, the corporate raised an Preliminary Coin Providing (ICO) of US$80 million (S$107 million) and positioned themselves as one of many strongest crypto gamers from Singapore.
Nevertheless, in January final yr, TenX introduced its resolution to discontinue its providers and shut down indefinitely.
New signups have been being disabled and members have been instructed to withdraw all their funds from TenX pockets. In the meantime, its web site said that they’re migrating to a brand new venture known as Mimo.
One of many major causes behind their downfall was the wirecard insolvency in Europe and Singapore. Wirecard — the father or mother firm that powers TenX crypto debit playing cards — filed for insolvency in June 2020 after dealing with allegations of misappropriating over US$2.1 billion of its funds.
Reddit sources and an interview with a displaced co-founder Dr. Julian Hosp suggests the shortage of innovation, the shortage of progress of merchandise and person base, and administration scandal as different unfavourable elements contributing to its final demise.
3. PAL Community
PAL Community (PAL) was a Singapore-based dual-layered protocol for monetary belongings that aimed to reinforce entry to insurance coverage safety.
In a Medium publish that was printed in October 2020, the PAL Community staff issued a press release on the conclusion of their blockchain journey.
The publish said that they might stop operations, delist PAL tokens from all exchanges, and burn all remaining PAL tokens by 30 October 2020. Moreover, they might donate their remaining capital to World Imaginative and prescient.
In keeping with the publish, the explanation behind this closure was resulting from them operating out of funds to proceed operations and improvement.
The depletion of their funding was attributed to the erosion of the market worth of ETH, which was the first digital asset contribution obtained by PAL Community for his or her PAL token sale. Inside two months of completion of the token sale, ETH went on a downward spiral within the 2018 crypto crash.
This erosion in ETH worth resulted in PAL Community dropping near 60 per cent of its funding from the PAL token sale which considerably shortened PAL Community’s improvement and operations runway by greater than half — two years, down from 5 years.
The corporate additionally talked about that resulting from Covid-19 pandemic, curiosity from insurance coverage companions have dropped considerably. That they had additionally failed to achieve mass market adoption of their insurance coverage product choices.
Based in 2012, CoinPip was a Singapore-based worldwide remittances startup that aimed to disrupt the remittances trade by permitting business-to-business (B2B) clients to make funds and transfers abroad with Bitcoin to facilitate the transactions on the backend.
The staff had landed funding and advisors from DBS Financial institution, PayPal, Visa, amongst others.
As of 11 February 2020, CoinPip has suspended all operations “till additional discover” to deal with reviewing license necessities underneath the Singapore cost providers act. The MAS had up to date its regulatory framework for crypto-related actions, together with digital funds.
CoinPip and different crypto companies in Singapore have been required to first register after which apply for a license, in addition to disclose their merchants’ identities and report suspicious actions.
FYB-SG was a Singapore cryptocurrency buying and selling trade that had been working since 2014. It was owned Dealworks Pte Ltd, which was registered as a deposit saved worth facility and didn’t require the approval of MAS.
The corporate had the complete performance of a buying and selling platform and allowed putting, canceling and viewing of orders, value data, commerce historical past and order e book. It additionally had a cell app for Android and iOS units.
The corporate ceased operations in 2019 because of the closure of their checking account.
Apparently, points with banking relationships is a typical purpose for the closure of many cryptocurrency firms. Most instances nonetheless, the banks concerned don’t supply any purpose for the closure of firms’ financial institution accounts.
Launched in 2017, NuMoney was an organization that permits clients to purchase and promote Bitcoin and different cryptocurrencies over-the-counter (OTC).
They helped non tech-savvy Singaporeans to buy crypto bodily at their counters. Customers must register with their ID and transact cryptocurrency on the spot with the assistance of NuMoney workers.
On high of their OTC providers, the corporate had had their very own on-line buying and selling trade platform.
As of 2019, NuMoney was not operational because of the closure of their financial institution accounts – OCBC, Maybank, and DBS.
Apparently, they obtained an excessive amount of cash from their clients, within the common of four-digit sums. (hyperlink supply) Though NuMoney had correct paperwork and invoices to again up these transactions, the banks flagged NuMoney and shut down their accounts.
In a weblog publish, founder Steven Goh expressed his disappointment with Singapore’s banking system and unfair practices that restrict the expansion of the fintech gamers.
Straightforward To Begin, Laborious To Survive
It could be comparatively simple to begin a cryptocurrency enterprise in Singapore, nonetheless the street to profitability and adoption is for much longer and arduous than the typical startups in different industries.
Furthermore, blockchain and cryptocurrency know-how is comparatively new and sophisticated, therefore there may be restricted programming ecosystem to develop merchandise, to not point out difficulties to search out use circumstances and product-market match. The volatility of cyptocurrency worth additionally poses a number of different issues to crypto companies.
Pushback from conventional banking trade and MAS may additionally cripple the operations of those new companies, as authorized framework regulating the house has not been correctly set and may change at a second’s discover.
The long-term potential of getting a profitable cryptocurrency enterprise is limitless, however identical to the worth of cryptocurrency — one can anticipate roller-coaster fluctuations alongside the best way.
Due to this fact, it’s not an understatement to say that beginning a cryptocurrency enterprise isn’t for the faint-hearted.
Featured Picture Credit score: Logos of respective firms