MAS issues 3 crypto licence in-principle approvals, including to Crypto.com
To date, Singapore has granted licences and in-principle approvals to 11 DPT service providers, excluding the latest 3 issued.
Singapore has awarded 3 more in-principle approvals for its much-coveted digital payment token (DPT) licence, which allows companies to offer crypto services.
The applicants were not named by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), though prominent crypto exchange Crypto.com later said in a statement that it was one of the awardees. Trading platforms Genesis and Sparrow Exchange (through its entity Sparrowtech) were also granted the in-principle approval, The Business Times understands.
The move was announced on Wednesday (Jun 22), in a speech by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who reiterated Singapore’s desire to work with blockchain and digital-asset players.
“We are committed to partnering innovative and responsible players to grow the Web 3.0 ecosystem and community in Singapore,” he said in a recorded speech at the opening of the Point Zero Forum in Switzerland. The financial services forum is hosted by Elevandi, a company set up by MAS, and The Swiss Secretariat for International Finance.
Heng’s comments come in the wake of a cryptocurrency meltdown that has plunged several crypto companies into crisis. Still, interest in Web3 technologies is at an all-time high and regulators globally have expressed interest in turning their countries into crypto hubs.
Singapore’s crypto-hub status has been questioned over the past year, as frustrations appeared to mount over the process of obtaining a crypto licence. Dubai, which has ambitions of becoming a Web3 hub, has been floated as a more crypto-friendly alternative by some industry players.
Under the Payment Services Act, which came into effect in January 2020, all providers of DPT services operating in Singapore must be registered and licensed.
To date, Singapore has granted licences and in-principle approvals to 11 DPT service providers, excluding the latest 3 issued. These include stablecoin players, crypto exchanges and traditional financial institutions.
MAS has received 196 applications as at end-May. A total of 108 applications are pending review; 3 have been rejected, and 74 withdrawn. Licence holders include crypto exchange Coinhako, DBS’s brokerage arm DBS Vickers and crypto payment provider Triple A.
Heng said the partnership between regulators and the fintech industry will help promote the ecosystem responsibly, such as by encouraging the upsides of Web3 while minimising downsides.
“Regulators and most of the fintech community share a common goal, which is to use finance and tech to create value and improve lives. They need not be operating at cross purposes or take an adversarial approach. Doing so works to no one’s benefit,” he said.
“Crypto assets have more recently been in the spotlight for the wrong reasons,” Heng added. “This, however, does not reflect where the greatest value of blockchain and digital assets lies, much of which is away from the retail glare.”
The blockchain technology underlying cryptocurrencies, for instance, could improve wholesale cross-border transactions. Cross-border settlements today involve a few intermediaries and are mostly bound by fixed operating hours of settlement banks and systems.
Heng said Singapore will facilitate live experiments in Web3 through regulatory sandboxes, including testing the feasibility of decentralised finance and asset tokenisation.
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