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FirstFT: Singapore vows to be ‘unrelentingly hard’ on crypto

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Singapore will be “cruel and unrelentingly tough” on bad behavior in the crypto industry, according to the fintech policy leader, marking a sharp shift in rhetoric after years of the city-state courting the sector.

Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer at the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the country’s central bank, questioned the value of private cryptocurrencies and said he expected a state-backed alternative to be launched within three years.

“We have been called out by many cryptocurrencies for not being friendly,” he told the Financial Times in an interview. “My response was: kind to what? Friendly to a real economy or friendly to an unreal economy?”

Mohanty added: “We do not tolerate any bad market behaviour. When someone has done something bad, we are brutal and relentlessly harsh.”

The crypto meltdown has hardened the attitude of officials in Singapore, where many crypto firms had been founded due to perceived friendly regulations and low taxes.

  • Opinion: I wouldn’t bet private digital money will really die – mutation seems more likely, writes Gillian Tett.

Video: Cryptocurrencies: How Regulators Lost Control

Do you think Singapore is right to crack down on crypto? Tell me what you think firstft@ft.com† Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia. Here’s the rest of the day’s news – Emily

1. EU leaders grant Ukraine and Moldova candidate country status EU leaders agreed at a summit on Thursday to nominate Ukraine and Moldova to join the bloc, a landmark move by Brussels in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

  • Related reading: The top EU diplomat has maintained that the bloc has no intention of blocking the legal transport of Russian goods to Kaliningrad via Lithuania in comments designed to de-escalate tensions with Moscow.

3. China’s zero-covid strategy has increased the risk of a flu epidemic Health officials warn that the country’s focus on eradicating Covid-19 has left it unprepared for a potential flu epidemic that risks killing tens of thousands of civilians. Some health authorities are particularly concerned about a flu outbreak in southern China.

4. Toyota recalls EV fleet Toyota is recalling its fleet of 2,700 electric vehicles, less than two months after launching its first mass-produced battery-powered SUV designed to take on Tesla.
The world’s largest automaker issued the global recall yesterday warning that the wheels could potentially fall due to problems with bolts connecting them to the vehicle.

4. Early voting could help Najib avoid jail time of more than 1MDB, opposition warns Najib Razak, the former Malaysian prime minister convicted of money laundering in connection with the 1MDB scandal, could take advantage of an early general election win to avoid jail time, the country’s opposition leader warned. Some members of Najib’s party tried to bring forward the 2023 elections so they could consolidate power and influence the judiciary, Anwar Ibrahim said.

5. Investors Raise Bets on BoJ Giving Up Yield Curve Controls At last week’s policy meeting, the Bank of Japan renewed its pledge to buy up as much government debt as it takes to keep 10-year borrowing costs below 0.25 percent. But pressure on the central bank to ease its contact is mounting, with many investors taking short positions in Japanese government bonds (JGBs).

© BoJ image

Thanks to the readers who completed our poll yesterday. Ninety percent of respondents said they expect corruption and mismanagement to plague the new government of the Philippines.

The next few days

Remarks from the Chinese Ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian will speak today at the University of Technology Sydney to discuss bilateral relations between the two nations.

Japanese inflation data Japan is releasing its consumer price indices today. CPI inflation is expected to keep stable at 2.5 percent† (FX Street)

UK midterm election results When the results are announced on Friday, the Conservatives are determined to lose two parliamentary by-elections, according to senior party strategists, in steps that could spark renewed opposition to Boris Johnson.

What else do we read

She was loved for standing up to China. She can die in jail Over the years, Claudia Mo has warned of China’s growing authoritarianism towards Hong Kong, her sense of humor and honesty that have made her a much-loved figure among democracy supporters. Later this year, Mo, one of 47 from Hong Kong, will find out if she will have to spend the rest of her life in prison.

Taiwanese military training needs to be improved Rising tensions in US-China relations, coupled with the war in Ukraine, have accelerated Taiwan’s consideration of military reforms. The most popular plan is to triple the length of conscription. “Such an extension of service will do little . † † to prepare my country for a possible Chinese invasion. My own experience has not helped much in preparing my comrades and me for war,” writes a former soldier.

The time to bring Donald Trump to justice is approaching The evidence gathered by the Jan. 6 committee of the U.S. House of Representatives makes it much harder for U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to turn a blind eye. But any prosecution of the former president carries acute risks, writes Edward Luce.

Revlon has become a meme stock Revlon shares have risen from about $1 a share to $8 a share — less than a week after the company went bankrupt. But don’t expect a revival of the company’s fortunes reminiscent of rental car company Hertz, Sujeet Indap says.

Food crisis bites across Africa Strong global increases in food, fuel and fertilizer prices since the Russian invasion of Ukraine have exacerbated the economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic and millions of Africans face a “unprecedented food shortageThe World Food Program has warned. It has also increased the risk of social unrest in poorer countries.

© Food in Africa image

Fashion

Automation, digitization and globalization have brought us an incredible material abundance at very low prices. This in itself is a good thing, and it is not just a story of iniquity and waste. We should push for sustainability, but also celebrate good, cheap clothing, writes Robert Armstrong.

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