Blockchain.com wins coveted license to operate in Singapore

abdelaziz Fathi

Singapore continues to issue approvals to more cryptocurrency firms to provide digital asset services in the city-state even as it maintains a stringent licensing regime.

Cryptocurrency wallet provider Blockchain.com was the latest company to get the nod from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, according to a statement on Wednesday. The in-principal approval allows the firm to conduct a spectrum of virtual assets business under the Major Payment Institution (MPI) licence.

Alongside this approval, Blockchain.com will continue to grow its Singapore office and expand its institutional client roster, it says.

The news comes just a day after Nasdaq-listed crypto exchange operator Coinbase has been handed the same license from Singapore regulators to operate fully regulated cryptocurrency services in the country. The UK-based firm follows in the footsteps of other crypto firms that have recently secured clearance, including Crypto.com, digital asset broker Genesis and blockchain tech provider Sparrow.

Singapore’s regulatory regime for exchanges requires them to provide adequate consumer protections and comply with Anti-Money Laundering measures.

Blockchain.com’s approval takes the number of crypto firms that have received the regulatory nod to 18, a fraction of almost 180 applicants. The city-state’s de facto central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has been cautious toward cryptocurrencies as it seeks to combat related money laundering and cybercrimes.

Regulators in Singapore said they may implement consumer protections for crypto investors, which could include suitability tests, curbs on leverage trading and credit facilities. They have also repeatedly warned retail investors against putting their money in the market.

“Blockchain.com commends the Monetary Authority of Singapore on its transparent regulatory process that prioritizes crypto industry oversight while allowing innovation to thrive,” said Blockchain.com CEO and Co-Founder Peter Smith.

Earlier this year, Blockchain.com revealed it had been exposed to Three Arrows Capital (3AC) after the recently bankrupt hedge fund failed to meet a margin call. It also came on the heels of the firm’s announcement that is interviewing investment bankers about going public as soon as this year.

The company hasn’t made a final decision, though, and its plans for an initial public offering (IPO) could change, and the public debut could also slip to next year.

Blockchain.com, led by CEO and co-founder Peter Smith, is said to have registered 73 million crypto wallets and over 31 million verified users in more than 200 countries. It also claims a market share of 28% of all bitcoin transactions.

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