Babel Finance Sets Up Shop in Singapore

Over two-thirds of Singaporeans with personal investments have crypto in their portfolios.

Sep 17, 2021 at 11:06 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 17, 2021 at 2:05 p.m. UTC

Crypto financial services provider Babel Finance is expanding into Singapore.

  • The new company, called Babel Asia, will be independent of Babel’s Hong Kong office, according to a Thursday press release.
  • “Singapore’s trusted legal system, well-developed wealth-management industry and openness to fintech” are welcoming to crypto firms, Babel Asia CEO Shanshan Yu told CoinDesk in an email.
  • Singapore’s 2019 Payment Services Act set up a regulatory framework for crypto, giving digital-asset firms a pathway to legality.
  • Founded in 2018, Babel Finance started out as a lender to crypto miners in China and has grown to serve institutional clients and high net worth individuals.
  • It is these institutional investors that Babel is after in Singapore. Yu’s experience in banking will help her win over traditional finance players, the company said. She has been working in Singapore’s banking sector since 2013, with roles at Bank of Singapore, Development Bank of Singapore and United Overseas Bank.
  • Babel Finance’s co-founder Del Wang said in a press release that there is “increasing appetite for differentiated asset classes” among Singapore’s qualified investors.
  • Over two-thirds of Singaporeans with personal investments have crypto in their portfolios, and over one-third of those who don’t said that they plan to invest in digital assets in the next year, according to a July survey by crypto exchange Gemini and crypto information provider CoinMarketCap.
  • Still, Babel Asia has its work cut out for it in terms of compliance and faces joining a long queue for licenses. Singapore’s Monetary Authority has reportedly received over 170 applications for licenses from crypto exchanges.
  • Only one digital-token payments license has been granted in full to a local fintech player, FOMO Pay, which received approval this month.
  • Babel Finance raised $40 million in a Series A round in May.

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Eliza Gkritsi is a CoinDesk news reporter based in Asia.