[Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that over 300 firms applied for cryptocurrency licenses. The article has been updated accordingly to better reflect the respective applications]
According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), over 300 firms in the nation have requested for licenses to operate services in payments and crypto exchanges in the city.
These services include providing account issuance services, domestic money transfer service, digital payment (cryptocurrency) token services, and more.
Among the applicants are prominent tech companies like Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. and Ant Group, Binance Holdings Ltd., as well as Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc.
Currently, these entities have been granted an exemption from holding a licence under the Payment Services Act for the specific payment services for a specified period.
These companies applied under the Payment Services Act, a comprehensive regulatory framework for companies handling activities relating to digital assets, including payments and trading.
MAS currently regulates service providers which deal with the exchange of cryptocurrencies when they possess the money or cryptocurrency. Under the act, the authority’s powers include regulatory measures on such providers even if they may not posses the money or cryptocurrency involved.
The authority’s chief financial technology officer, Sopnendu Mohanty, said in an interview with Bloomberg that the MAS is still processing the applications of the Payment Services Act.
These companies have been operating under a grace period since the regulator made the new Payment Services Act effective in January 2020.
“Giving licences to somebody is a premium, it is not something to be taken lightly. We are ensuring that whoever gets an MAS license will be credible,” Mohanty said.
A timeline for when the first license would be issued was not given, but firms may continue offering specific payment services while their applications are being processed.
Increased cryptocurrency demand in Singapore
Cryptocurrencies have been gaining popularity internationally since the introduction of the first one, Bitcoin, in 2009.
As demand for cryptocurrencies soar, the private sector here have taken steps to bolster its presence in cryptocurrencies.
DBS Bank for instance, has recently launched a trust solution for cryptocurrencies via the bank’s wholly-owned trust company, DBS Trustee. It is also Asia’s first bank-backed trust solution for crypto.
Most recently, it was reported that global lifestyle and gaming firm Razer is “carefully evaluating” a potential entry into the cryptocurrency space.
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