Monetary Authority of Singapore fails to approve 100 licenses

Singapore is classified as one of the most progressive and tough markets in crypto regulatory frameworks. Over 100 out of 170 firms dealing in digital assets in Singapore have failed to secure a license to operate in the country.

A publication from The Nikkei cited data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, which noted that 103 companies dealing in digital assets in Singapore have failed to obtain their licenses.

Over 100 crypto firms fail to obtain Singapore

One of the firms that failed to obtain a license from the MAS is Bitxmi, a digital asset exchange firm based in Dubai. The exchange CEO, Sanjay Jain, noted, “we can’t operate in Singapore. We have an office there, but it’s just more or less – there’s one person for our accounting and legal issues.”

Bitxmi will no longer be exempt from operating in Singapore following the Payment Services Regulations. The MAS publication released on Wednesday included other local branches in this list, including BitGo, Klaytn blockchain firm, Revolut Technology Singapore etc.

According to the MAS, while there was a need to support the growth of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, there was also a need to recognize the risks from this sector. The publication quotes one of MAS representatives who mentions that “cryptocurrencies could be abused for money laundering, terrorism financing or proliferation financing due to the speed and cross-border nature of the transactions.”

The representative also added that crypto firms in Singapore needed to be compliant with the local requirements to mitigate the risks that come from the sector. Some of the required compliance measures include conducting customer due diligence, reviewing accounts and reporting suspicious activities.

Singapore’s crypto regulatory framework

As mentioned earlier, Singapore has one of the most advanced and mature crypto markets, as it has supported growth and innovation in the sector. Due to this, many firms offering crypto trading have rushed to set up a base in Singapore.

However, after introducing a new licensing regime, firms were urged to apply for fresh licenses. Those operating before this regime was introduced were allowed to continue doing so until a decision to reject or approve the license was known.

The firms that are now operating under this exemption are 70, according to data on December 14. Binance, one of the largest exchanges globally, announced that its Singapore branch was closing, and the signing of new users was halted on December 13. Existing users are also urged to shut down their operations by mid-February.

So far, only three firms are listed on the MAS website as fully licensed crypto firms. These firms include DBS Vickers Securities, DBS Group Holdings and Australia’s Independent Reserve. Huobi has also announced plans to move its headquarters to Singapore through a local entity.

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