Gemini Looks to Replace APAC Head in Singapore After Jeremy Ng Departs

The crypto exchange’s former Asia-Pacific chief has left the company, two sources tell CoinDesk.

AccessTimeIconDec 14, 2021 at 4:21 a.m. UTC
Updated Dec 14, 2021 at 3:28 p.m. UTC

Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.

Gemini is looking for a new Singapore office lead, according to a LinkedIn job opening from last week. The search comes after former APAC chief Jeremy Ng left the company in recent weeks, according to two sources with direct knowledge.

Ng was with the exchange for less than two years and was appointed to lead Singapore operations just five months ago. As CoinDesk reported at the time, the exchange was pursuing an expansion across Asia.

Those aspirations seem to have run into regulatory bottlenecks: Gemini is still waiting for its digital payment token license to be approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), along with another 70 companies.

Competence in liaising with regulators across jurisdictions is a key component of the job, the latest LinkedIn post says.

Singapore enacted the Payment Services Act in January 2020, which allows crypto firms, including exchanges, to be licensed and operate in the city-state.

But only four licenses have been issued to date, while the list of companies that have been rejected or withdrawn their applications has piled up to 100.

A Gemini spokesperson declined to comment on the personnel change, adding that its commitment to Asia hasn’t changed.

“We trust that the regulator will move forward with our application, as well as other firms who meet their criteria, in due course,” the spokesperson said when asked about the DPT license.

The exchange’s Singapore office has grown moderately since July; back then, Gemini said it counted 30 staff. The new LinkedIn post says the APAC leader will oversee upwards of 40 employees in Singapore.

Falling in place

In recent weeks, crypto exchanges like Huobi and Binance seem to have been crystallizing their plans for the city-state, in part nudged by the regulator. Global companies are not allowed to offer services to Singaporeans but some exchanges are looking for local carve-outs.

Binance has decided to withdraw both its global and local business. MAS issued a warning to Binance.com in early September, and the world’s largest exchange moved to limit its offerings for Singaporean users just days later.

On Dec. 13, Binance’s Singapore crypto trading platform, operated by Binance Asia Services Ltd., announced it would drop its DPT license application and stop offering services in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Huobi Global tapped Singapore for its regional headquarters on Nov. 30, weeks after it announced it would expel all its local users.

At the same time, Huobi has set up a local entity that has applied for the DPT license.

The company will launch its Singapore trading platform in private pilot mode once it is done with an update that will ensure compliance with new MAS anti-money laundering requirements, Edward Chen, CEO of Huobi Singapore, told CoinDesk.

The pilot is planned to start at the end of the year, the CEO said. Huobi’s platform will be fully launched once the company has secured its license from MAS, Chen said.

Huobi Singapore operates under FEU International, which is a subsidiary of Huobi Tech, a Hong Kong-listed company that is independent from Huobi Group. Huobi Group owns the crypto exchange Huobi Global, and shares two co-founders with Huobi Tech; Leon Li and Du Jun.

UPDATE (Dec. 14, 6:30 UTC): Adds Gemini statement on license and more details about Huobi Singapore’s platform.

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Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.