Crypto exchange Binance has withdrawn its application for a license in Singapore. The news comes amid an announcement from the exchange that it will “refocus” its operations in Singapore into a “blockchain innovation hub.”
Binance Asia Services—the exchange’s Singaporean entity—will head this mission with the goal of developing the global blockchain ecosystem.
“Singapore is a vibrant fintech hub and Southeast Asia is an important region for us. We plan to make further investments in the region with Singapore as one of the centers for technology, research and development,” said Richard Teng, CEO of Binance Singapore in a prepared statement.
“We always put our users first, so our decision to close Binance.sg was not taken lightly. Our immediate priority is to help our users in Singapore transition their holdings to other wallets or other third-party services,” Teng added.
The exchange's CEO, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), also weighed in on Twitter.
“Binance made a sizable investment into regulated exchange HGX last week. This investment made our own application somewhat redundant,” he said.
CZ may have said their application for a license became redundant, but the exchange’s decision to withdraw its license marks the end of yet another unsuccessful attempt to gain the appropriate operating licenses—much like what has happened in the UK.
Binance and Singapore
In the midst of Binance’s nightmare regulatory summer, the exchange also ran into issues with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
In August, Binance Asia Services was temporarily exempt from needing a license under Singapore’s Payment Services Act. This was because the entity was carrying out would-be-regulated activities prior to the Act taking effect in January 2020.
This allowed the MAS to review applications for licenses retrospectively. Yet, there was never a guarantee that the exchange would be successful in its own application.
“We are aware of the actions taken by other regulatory authorities against Binance and will follow up as appropriate with the applicant,” a spokesperson for the MAS previously told Decrypt.
What’s more, the MAS spokesperson said that a “significant number” of firms similar to Binance had seen their applications for licenses get rejected.
One month later, the MAS placed Binance on the country’s Investor Alert List. Entities added to this list are done so when the MAS believes they “may have been wrongly perceived as being licensed or regulated by MAS.”