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More than 100 companies that have applied for licenses to provide cryptocurrency services in Singapore have been refused or withdrew their applications.
“Cryptocurrencies can be used to launder money, finance terrorism,” said the country’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
Strong regulation of cryptocurrencies in Singapore
Since Singapore began regulating the crypto sector, about 170 companies have applied for licenses to provide “digital payment token services”, which include services related to cryptocurrencies.
However, more than 100 companies that applied for licenses were refused or withdrew their applications, Nikkei Asia reported on Monday.
Companies that operated in the country prior to the introduction of the licensing regime were granted exemptions until their applications were reviewed. Senior Minister Tarman Shanmugaratnam told parliament in July that 90 companies are operating under such exemptions.
A spokesman for the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s central bank and regulator of the cryptocurrency sector, said: “Cryptocurrencies can be used for money laundering, terrorist financing.” The representative clarified:
“Digital payment token service providers in Singapore … must comply with requirements to mitigate such risks, including the need to conduct customer due diligence, regularly monitor accounts, and track and report suspicious transactions.”
Currently, only three companies are listed as licensed entities on the MAS website: DBS Vickers Securities, a division of DBS Group Holdings, the largest bank in Southeast Asia; digital payment startup FOMO Pay; and the Australian Independent Reserve. In November, MAS announced that Singapore is aiming to become a global crypto hub.
DBS’s head of capital markets and chairman of the bank’s crypto exchange said in September: “We are growing very fast. Investors are gradually exploring cryptocurrencies and digital assets.”
In September, the central bank ordered Binance to stop providing crypto services to residents. Binance announced last week that its Singapore platform will be shut down.
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) said the reason for the closure of the Singapore exchange was an 18% stake in the Hg Exchange (HGX), a regulated securities exchange in Singapore. However, Bloomberg reported that the real reason is that Binance was unable to comply with the license requirements to operate the crypto exchange.
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