The city-state’s central bank has granted cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase (COIN.O) a full payments licence to operate in Singapore, the US-based business announced on Monday.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has awarded Coinbase a Major Payment Institution (MPI) licence, allowing it to provide digital payment token services to individuals and institutions in Singapore, which has developed as a crypto hub in Asia in recent years.
Coinbase, the world’s largest publicly traded cryptocurrency exchange, received preliminary permission in October of last year.
Singapore has attracted digital asset companies from China and India, among other places. According to Coinbase, Singapore is a “vital market” for the company, with 32% of Singaporeans owning or having previously owned cryptocurrency.
However, a succession of crypto company failures in 2022, including hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, dampened enthusiasm for the industry. Temasek, Singapore’s state investment firm, reduced the compensation of the team that proposed a $275 million investment in now-defunct FTX.
The MAS, Singapore’s central bank and financial regulator, stated on its website last month that it only grants cryptocurrency firms licenses if they have strong anti-money laundering measures, and that “most applicants have not been successful.”
According to the MAS, fourteen businesses have secured a crypto payments licence, including the Singapore offices of British fintech Revolut and London-based crypto firm Blockchain.com.
The MAS announced in August 2022 that it was developing legislation to make it more difficult for regular investors to trade cryptocurrencies at a time when they appear to be “irrationally oblivious” to the hazards involved.
The MAS’s managing director at the time, Ravi Menon, held a conference titled “Yes to digital asset innovation, No to cryptocurrency speculation.”
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