Singapore grants in-principle approval to Crypto.com, Genesis and Sparrow

abdelaziz Fathi

Cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com, digital asset broker Genesis and blockchain tech provider Sparrow have received in-principle approval from Singapore regulators to operate fully regulated cryptocurrency services in the country.

The IPA licence allows the trio to provide digital payment token services under the Major Payment Institution (MPI) licence.  Only 14 other MPI-licensed firms are approved by the city-state’s de facto central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), to offer crypto services.

Using the specific terms of the Singaporean framework, the three crypto firms have now been approved, in principle, for receipt of a Major Payment Institution Licence that allows it to provide Digital Payment Token Services.

Singaporean regulators have received 180 licence applications from digital asset providers as the country was seen to be crypto-friendly and has been attracting global firms to set up offices here. This included top crypto exchanges such as Binance and Kraken. Although the MAS has recently given its in-principle approval to several applicants, but over 30 applications were withdrawn after engagement with the agency and two have been rejected.

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

Commenting on the news, Kris Marszalek, Co-Founder and CEO  of Crypto.com said: “The Monetary Authority of Singapore sets a high regulatory bar that cultivates innovation while  protecting consumers, and their in-principle approval of our application reflects the trusted and  secure platform we have worked diligently to build. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the MAS and deepening our  roots in Singapore – a flourishing market for fintech innovation, renowned for its well-regulated  business environment.”

As the world gets to grips with tokenization and DeFi, Singapore regulators are exploring the economic potential and value-adding use cases of these new technologies.

Not many details were revealed about the matter, but MAS is actively working on regulations that might one day permit so-called tokenization, which allows a crypto token to represent a traditional asset like stocks. On top of that, Singapore’s central bank will look into issues related to trading digital assets, as well as DeFi applications in wholesale funding markets through existing financial infrastructure.

In a different vein, MAS was clamping down on marketing crypto investments to the public as part of a wider move by the city-state to prevent harm to unprofessional consumers.

Singapore’s watchdog published a set of guidelines instructing so-called ‘digital payment token (DPT)’ companies to stop advertising their products in public spaces. The ban applies to both physical and virtual adverts, particularly online and on social media platforms, as the MAS described the trading of crypto assets “highly risky and not suitable for the general public.”

The non-binding guidelines also prohibit publishing ads on public transport, or through broadcast and print media. They are also discouraged from engaging third parties, such as social media influencers, or providing physical ATMs in Singapore for dispensing crypto tokens.

Instead, crypto firms can only market their offering on their own corporate websites, mobile applications or official social media accounts.

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