SBI’s Singapore crypto unit gets full financial services license

abdelaziz Fathi

A subsidiary of the digital asset arm of Japanese financial conglomerate SBI Holdings has received approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) for a capital markets services (CMS) license.

SBI Holdings

The CMS license will allow SBI Digital Markets to deal in and provide custodial services for capital market products, including tokenised securities. Following the firm receiving an in-principle approval in May, the new approval provides a regulatory imprimatur for trading platforms for digital assets, including cryptocurrencies, in the city-state.

“This is an exciting milestone for SBI Digital Markets, which will play a major part in SBI DAH’s core mission to re-imagine and transform capital markets and banking value chains through the deployment of digital technology,” said SBI Digital Asset Holdings CEO Fernando Luis Vázquez Cao.

SBI DM was created in late 2020 as a subsidiary of SBI Group’s digital asset arm, SBI Digital Asset Holdings, with the ambition to help with issuing bonds, stocks and alternative assets as security tokens in Southeast Asia.

Also in 2021, SBI Holdings Inc made a strategic investment in Singapore’s first licensed crypto exchange Coinhako. For this purpose, the company established a joint venture business with Switzerland-based Sygnum Bank as it aims to expand the crypto business into a core pillar of profitability.

Japan’s biggest online brokerage has been providing its global clients with cryptocurrency trading services since 2018.

Aiming to expand its cryptocurrency portfolio, the Japanese conglomerate bought local exchange Tao Tao. In 2020, SBI’s UK arm had fully acquired cryptocurrency market maker and liquidity provider, B2C2, which was the latest example of how mainstream giants and crypto startups are tying up.

Moreover, other subsidiaries at SBI groups are active in other blockchain projects. Apart from its Japanese security token offering (STO), for example, SBI additionally invested in San Francisco-based STO startup, Securitize, and enterprise blockchain firm, R3. Also, SBI maintains investments in Ripple and the MoneyTap blockchain payments app.

Coinhako is one of the oldest crypto exchanges in Asia, and its operations are heavily focused on Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. The exchange allows users to make multiple transactions – ranging from FX exchanges, crypto to crypto exchanges, and moving tokens across different platforms.

Coinhako operates under an in-principal approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore for a digital payment token (DPT) service license. Actually, it was the first local native cryptocurrency exchange to secure the much-coveted license.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has updated its regulatory framework for crypto-related activities, including digital payments. The country’s Payment Services Act (PSA) covers all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore, bringing Coinhako and its peers under anti-money laundering and counterterrorist-financing rules.

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