Due to the rapid technological advancement over the past twenty years, the world has evolved into an era of globalization never before seen in human history. As borders relax, air travel becomes more affordable, and remote work booms in every industry, we, as a species are more connected than ever. That being said, culture remains a strong foundation of who we are, how we think, and what our nations represent as individual communities.
Acknowledging the existence of different cultures, understanding them, and of course, respecting them is an important responsibility of ours as global citizens. It’s also a gateway into the minds of that culture to see how they feel about a particular subject. Take cryptocurrency for example.
The global impact of cryptocurrency in its young life is immense. It’s made cross-border transactions faster, easier, and more affordable while additionally giving financial services to millions of people who never had the means of opening a bank account. This is just the tip of crypto and blockchain’s impact. That being said, not every country has the same attitude towards cryptocurrency and that is the purpose of this mini-series entitled “The Culture of Crypto.”
The next five articles features five different people from around the world in an attempt to study their unique culture and give you, the readers, a firsthand look at what makes a certain country either embrace or reject cryptocurrency and what that culture’s relationship is with money/investment in general.
The first stop on this trip in South East Asia. The bustling city-state of Singapore to be exact. There, we spoke with someone who gave us great insight on the status of the Singapore economy, Singaporean work ethic, the power of “property” and much more. Hope you enjoy the interview and stay tuned for the rest of the mini-series coming soon.
YouHodler (YH): Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do for a living
Crypto Newbie (CN): I was born and bred in Singapore and currently, I work in the aviation industry with a reputable airline that everyone talks about (“a great way to fly”). Even amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic.
YH: What is your very first memory of money? (either positive or negative)
CN: I grew up in a poor family but had a great mom who made sure we always had our three daily meals while she slogged between two jobs to bring up four kids singlehandedly since my dad died when I was born. In that sense, it made me feel that money is an essential and important part of life but one should not let money control one’s life because family comes before all else (in my opinion).
YH: What would you say are cultural attitudes towards money in your country?
CN: Singapore is a place where those with money live a comfortable life. Safe, secure, and with all amenities open 24/7 and closeby. However, being able to afford this Singaporean lifestyle means having to work extremely hard as well.
YH: If you could use one word to describe the attitude of money in your country, what would that one word be?
CN: A lifetime of work, work, work. The one word to describe it is “work!”
YH: How is success defined in your country?
CN: Success comes with being better educated and more hardworking than our peers. Singapore is an island. An island without resources. The only resource we have is the people of Singapore. Hence, smart people yield better returns both for the country and for themselves.
YH: What is the role of luck in people’s lives in your country?
CN: Like always said, nothing in life is free. So Singapore people are known to not depend on luck to prosper but instead, rely on their hard work to find fortune. Maybe that‘s why for many years (until recently) the Prime Minister outlawed casinos in Singapore.
YH: Where do people tend to gather news and or wisdom from in Singapore?
CN: Singapore is becoming a “Smart Nation” soon (target 2025) so information is easily accessible via the internet connectivity to which Singaporeans have free access.
YH: Is change considered a positive or negative event in your culture?
CN: As far as being a Singaporean is concerned, since we don’t have any natural resources,
the only thing we have is people.
That way, change is the only constant for us. In order for us to remain prosperous and not fall behind other countries, we must evolve and keep a positive mindset towards change.
YH: What is the overall attitude towards cryptocurrency in your country?
CN: Not many Singaporean are into crypto as far as I know. I could be wrong but from my point of view, there is a sort of stigma associated with the volatile nature of cryptocurrency which does not mix well with the highly regulated and regimented control of the Singapore government.
YH: When I say the word “investment” what is the first word that comes to your mind?
CN: In Singapore, it has to be “property” but in my opinion, that is “crypto.”
YH: How do you personally think cryptocurrency can impact your country on a positive level?
CN: I came into crypto by chance and it’s all because of trying to understand the hype regarding what is a blockchain led me to crypto. So in my opinion, a decentralized platform is always good for the individual (in many ways) but there will be many roadblocks ahead as the traditionalists (i.e. the centralized controls by institutions and government bodies alike) will feel threatened by these as they will lose the so-called “monopoly’ and control they had for the longest time.
YH: Thank you so much for your time.
CN: Thanks for having me!
What a fabulous interview by our friend in Singapore. If one could summarize this interview and the culture of Singapore through this one portal, we could say work, property, regulation, and evolution are four keywords that make up the core foundation of Singaporean culture.
It seems Singaporeans favor hard work over chance and choose to build their wealth through this hard work instead of looking for lucky, “get rich quick schemes.” As for property, this makes sense. Singapore is a densely populated city with a finite supply of land. Owning property of any kind is likely akin to owning gold (or even Bitcoin). Singaporeans value land because it is tangible, has a limited supply, and is regulated.
Speaking of regulation, it seems the Singaporean government takes that word extremely seriously. They don’t make changes easily without first developing an intense regulatory framework to implement and police this new change. The Casino Control Act is a prime example of this.
All that being said, Singapore does love to be on the cutting edge of technology and evolution so it’s hard to imagine they would miss out on something as innovative as cryptocurrency while the rest of their competitors around the world begin to adopt and benefit from this tech.
Going off of the limited, but useful information in this interview, the short answer seems to be “yes.” If crypto adoption continues at this rapid rate, it will eventually catch the mainstream attention of Singapore. However, given the nature of this industry, it’s quite a possible adoption would be slow within the country. Singapore is a country of hardworking citizens that like to earn their wealth, not necessarily gamble with it.
Hence, when the market stabilizes and Bitcoin becomes a better store of value, that is likely when both Singapore citizens and the government start to take cryptocurrency seriously and start building a framework for adoption. Singaporeans do like to invest in valuable, finite assets like real estate, which would make Bitcoin very attractive to their culture if it can stabilize and deliver constant returns on investment.
In the meantime though, Singaporeans value hard worth ethic and seem to enjoy building wealth through working hard and saving their income. So it seems most Singapore citizens would prefer something like cryptocurrency interest accounts where they can hold stablecoins safely and securely within a regulated platform and earn crypto up to 12% per year.
As for the future, cryptocurrency has surprised us in the past and could very well do so again so we’ll keep a close eye on Singapore’s relationship with cryptocurrency and see if their historically conservative culture starts warming up to this new financial revolution.
Thanks for joining us for Part I of “The Culture of Crypto” and we look forward to seeing you in Part II!