Binance will no longer operate its own cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore, following multiple strategic investments and months of licensing uncertainty.
Binance Singapore has withdrawn its application to operate as a licensed crypto exchange in the country. Instead, it looks to leverage its new stake in HG Exchange to offer incubation programs, blockchain education, and investments.
The company will close all its operations by Feb 13, 2022, while operations like deposits of crypto and fiat and new registrations will cease immediately. The exchange has no physical headquarters yet has seen record trading volumes on its online platforms.
License applications not seeing light of day
Binance has been operating in Singapore under the terms of a temporary exemption. The company had been awaiting the outcomes of a licensing process from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, together with approximately 480 companies, as required by the Payment Services Act that came into effect on Jan. 28, 2021. Of the 480 companies, Binance was among the 170 that sought to provide digital payment token services in the country. News surfaced months later that no progress was being made on the application.
Changpeng Zhao confirmed in a tweet that the company’s investment in HG Exchange last week was the exchange’s main reason for withdrawing its license application. The deal, which is still subject to regulatory approval, sees Binance own an 18% post-money stake in the exchange. The post-money stake implies that its stake in the company is 18% of its valuation.
The MAS has already approved the HG Exchange as a Recognized Monetary Operator.
Binance forced to redact offerings around the globe
Binance previously ran into compliance issues with the MAS. It was suspected of being in breach of the Payments Services Act for soliciting business from Singapore residents without an appropriate license. As a result, In October 2021, its users in Singapore were prevented from accessing fiat deposits, spot crypto trading, and buying cryptocurrencies through fiat channels and liquid swaps.
Before that, Binance P2P had to remove SGD trading pairs in bitcoin, Ethereum, and Binance Coin. The exchange advised all P2P users to complete all related trades and remove all trade-related advertisements by Sept 9, 2021.
It also removed its trading app from the iOS and Google Play app stores in Singapore after being added to the financial regulator’s investor alert list.
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