Coinbase approved as payments platform in Singapore

Coinbase approved as payments platform in Singapore

The cryptocurrency exchange receives a monetary authority license in the country

The Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange has been granted a full payments license to operate by Singapore’s central bank, the US-based company announced on Monday. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has granted it a Major Payment Institution (MPI) license, allowing Coinbase to offer digital payment token services to citizens and institutions in Singapore, which has, in recent years, become a major crypto center in Asia. The world’s biggest listed crypto exchange was initially granted approval last October.

Singapore has attracted many digital asset companies from countries like China and India. It’s a “vital market” for Coinbase, which noted survey data showing that 32% of Singaporeans now own crypto or have at some point in the past.

However, a series of recent crypto firm collapses, including hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, decreased enthusiasm in the industry. Singapore state investment firm Temasek issued pay cuts to the team that recommended it invest $275 million in now-bankrupt crypto firm FTX.

Singapore’s central bank and financial regulator, the MAS, said last month on its website that licenses are only granted to cryptocurrency firms with robust anti-money laundering controls and that “most applicants have not been successful.”

Fourteen companies have obtained crypto payments licenses, according to the MAS. Among them are London-based crypto firm and Singapore divisions of British fintech Revolut. Reuters also reported last year that around 180 companies submitted applications for crypto payments licenses in 2020 under a new administration.

The MAS said in August 2022 that it was planning regulations to make it harder for retail investors to trade cryptocurrencies when most seem to be “irrationally oblivious” about the risks. MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon gave a seminar at the time called “Yes to digital asset innovation, No to cryptocurrency speculation.”

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