Coinbase has received regulatory approval from Singapore’s central bank and financial watchdog, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), to provide payment services in the country.
The in-principle approval will allow them to offer regulated digital payment token products and services, regulated under Singapore’s Payment Services Act.
The news comes after Coinbase first launched a tech hub in the South East Asian country in November 2021. The firm currently has around 100 employees in the country, mostly comprised of product engineers.
Not all the major crypto firms who applied have managed to successfully gain regulatory approval in Singapore, and Coinbase joins the relatively small number who have achieved in-principle approval in the country, including Crypto.com, Luno, and Paxos.
In February 2022, Binance Singapore withdrew its application for a license to operate in the country. But it hasn’t just been Binance that has been snubbed by Singapore regulators.
According to reporting by Nikkei Asia, over 100 of the around 170 businesses that applied to the MAS for licenses to offer digital payment token services were denied.
Despite the recent approval, crypto firms operating in Singapore are likely to continue to be under strict watch.
Coinbase in Singapore
The MAS’ managing director Ravi Menon said the central bank would consider “further measures to reduce consumer harm” when it came to cryptocurrency investment in August 2022.
The executive said cryptocurrencies do not currently represent a “viable form of money or investment asset” due to their volatility; however, he noted that digital assets have “transformative potential, not unlike securitization 50 years ago.”
Despite the win, Coinbase still won’t be able to advertise in the country.
The MAS released guidelines at the beginning of 2022 banning crypto platforms from promoting their services to the general public, for example on buses on TV advertisements.
However, they will still be able to advertise on their websites and social media accounts.
The dive for international expansion comes despite widespread lay-offs in the firm.
Coinbase announced in June it was axing 18% of its workforce, citing the widespread collapse in crypto asset prices.