Singapore prides itself on being the crypto hub in Southeast Asia and the surrounding region, and blockchain is among the three main industry trends in the country as of 2020 and the creation of cryptocurrency startups in recent years.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has taken a pro-blockchain stance with favorable tax treatments and public funding for blockchain development. Also consider blockchain technology. “Fundamental” for economic development In Singapore.
Singapore has also joined with a handful of countries to establish a Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Industry Association, dedicated to helping small and medium cryptocurrency and blockchain companies.
This makes it relatively easy for locals and foreigners to set up a cryptocurrency business in Singapore, which is why cryptocurrency and blockchain companies are proliferating here.
However, many startups appear to be simply following trends and burning investors’ money rather than showing real results and profit. Worse still, some of them actually turn out to be Ponzi or pump-and-dump schemes that defraud users’ money.
Here’s a look at six crypto startups that launched in recent years in Singapore, but are no longer up and running.
1. Pair trading systems
Incorporated in 2019 in the British Virgin Islands as an online cryptocurrency trading platform by Singaporean Bernard Ong, Torque appeared to be a multi-level marketing (MLM) investment platform, in which new investors must invest their money and recruit new investors to sign up with torque.
Members are then paid by investing in referral commission downline via a one-tier compensation structure.
A multi-level marketing or pyramid selling scheme will generally require participants to pay an upfront fee. In return, participants are promised financial rewards for each additional participant recruited, hence the pyramid structure.
As more salespeople are recruited, participants expect to recover their initial charges and make considerable profits. However, such pyramid schemes will eventually collapse when they run out of new recruits, resulting in salespeople at the base of the pyramid losing all of their starting positions.
In early February, Bernard Announced the collapse of the company and the suspension of all business activities.
The company blamed a rogue employee who allegedly conducted unauthorized leveraged trades on the platform and suffered losses, which depleted members’ investment accounts.
A. since then the police report has been filed against the employee, who is allegedly responsible for the losses. However, the employee was said to be based outside of Singapore and could not be reached.
So Bernard had applied to the courts of the British Virgin Islands for the liquidation of the company, which was granted in mid-March of this year.
As of April 2021, there are up to 115 police reports filed against Torque Trading Systems by defrauded investors. It has also been reported that many Singaporeans have lost their life savings and investments from up to S $ 1 million from the torque debacle.
Founded in 2015 at a hackathon in Singapore, TenX was a platform that connected user assets stored on the blockchain with ‘real world’ payment platforms through an all-in-one blockchain-based encryption platform. .
Users can take advantage of the TenX app to store different types of blockchain assets in one place, as well as use their physical debit card to pay with crypto at retailers around the world.
In 2017, the company raised an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) of US $ 80 million (S $ 107 million) and positioned itself as one of the strongest crypto players in Singapore.
However, in January this year, TenX announced its decision to discontinue your services and close indefinitely.
New registrations were being disabled and members were being told to withdraw all their funds from the TenX wallet. Meanwhile, their website stated that they are migrate to a new project called Mime.
One of the main reasons for its downfall was the insolvency of electronic cards in Europe and Singapore. Wirecard – the parent company powering TenX crypto debit cards – filed for bankruptcy in June 2020 after facing allegations of misappropriation of more than $ 2.1 billion of its funds.
Reddit sources other to interview With a co-founder displaced, Dr. Julian Hosp suggests lack of innovation, lack of product and user base growth, and management scandal as other unfavorable factors contributing to its eventual demise.
3. PAL network
PAL Network (PAL) was a Singapore-based dual-layer protocol for financial assets that aimed to improve access to insurance protection.
in a Medium post which was released in October 2020, the PAL Network team released a statement on the conclusion of their blockchain journey.
The publication stated that they would cease operations, remove PAL tokens from all exchanges, and burn all remaining PAL tokens by October 30, 2020. Additionally, they would donate their remaining capital to World Vision.
According to the publication, the reason for this closure was because they ran out of funds to continue operations and development.
The depletion of its funding was attributed to the erosion of the market value of ETH, which was the main digital asset contribution received by the PAL Network for its PAL token sale. Within two months of the completion of the token sale, ETH entered a downward spiral in the cryptocurrency crash of 2018.
This erosion in the value of ETH resulted in the PAL Network losing about 60 percent of its funding from the PAL token sale, significantly shortening the development and operations of the PAL Network by more than half – two years, less. than five years.
The company also mentioned that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the interest of insurance partners dropped significantly. Nor had they succeeded in getting the mass market to embrace their insurance product offerings.
Founded in 2012, CoinPip was a Singapore-based international remittance startup that aimed to disrupt the remittance industry by allowing business-to-business (B2B) customers to make overseas payments and transfers with Bitcoin to facilitate backend transactions.
The team had secured investments and advisers from DBS Bank, PayPal, Visa, among others.
As of February 11, 2020, CoinPip has suspended all operations “until further notice” to focus on reviewing the licensing requirements under Singapore’s Payment Services Act. MAS had updated its regulatory framework for crypto-related activities, including digital payments.
CoinPip and other crypto companies in Singapore were required to first register and then apply for a license, as well as reveal the identities of their merchants and report suspicious activity.
FYB-SG which Singapore Cryptocurrency Trading Exchange which had been operating since 2014. It was owned by Dealworks Pte Ltd, which was registered as a warehouse of value facility and did not require MAS approval.
The company had the full functionality of a trading platform and allowed to place, cancel and view orders, price information, trade history and order book. It also had a mobile app for Android and iOS devices.
The company ceased operations in 2019 due to closing your bank account.
Apparently problems with banking relationships it is a common reason for the closure of many cryptocurrency companies. Most of the time, however, the banks involved do not offer any reason for closing company bank accounts.
Launched in 2017, NuMoney was a company that allows customers to buy and sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies without a prescription (OTC).
They helped non-tech savvy Singaporeans physically buy cryptocurrencies at their counters. Users would have to sign up with their ID and transact cryptocurrency on the spot with the help of NuMoney staff.
In addition to its OTC services, the company had its own online trading platform.
As of 2019, NuMoney was it is no longer operational due to the closure of their bank accounts: OCBC, Maybank and DBS.
Apparently, they received too much money from their clients, averaging four-digit amounts. Although NuMoney had the proper documents and invoices to support these transactions, the banks flagged NuMoney and closed their accounts.
In a blog post, founder Steven Goh expressed disappointment with Singapore’s banking system and unfair practices limiting the growth of fintech players.
Easy to start, hard to survive
It might be relatively easy to start a cryptocurrency business in Singapore, however the road to profitability and adoption is much longer and arduous than the average startup in other industries.
Furthermore, blockchain technology and cryptocurrency is relatively new and complex, so there is a limited programming ecosystem for developing products, not to mention difficulties in finding use cases and adjusting the product to market. The volatility of the value of cryptocurrencies also poses many other problems for cryptocurrency companies.
The rejection of the traditional banking industry and MAS could also paralyze the operations of these new businesses, since the legal framework that regulates the space has not been properly established and could change at any time.
The long-term potential of having a successful cryptocurrency business is limitless, but just like the value of cryptocurrency, one can expect roller coaster fluctuations along the way.
Therefore, it is not an understatement to say that starting a cryptocurrency business is not for the faint-hearted.
Featured Image Credit: Logos of the respective companies