Singapore's Financial Watchdog to 'Follow Up' on Global Binance Concerns

The Monetary Authority of Singapore is reviewing Binance's application for a license to operate in the city-state.

Jul 2, 2021 at 3:28 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:20 p.m. UTC

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country's financial regulator and central bank, said it is closely watching the regulatory developments surrounding Binance Holdings Ltd., owner of the Binance crypto exchange.

The country's financial watchdog is expected to "follow up" with the company's local subsidiary Binance Asia Services Pte., Bloomberg reported Wednesday. The subsidiary has a grace period while it awaits a review of its license application.

In an email to CoinDesk, Binance said it takes its "compliance obligations very seriously."

"Binance Asia Services (BAS) is a separate legal entity and does not offer any products or services via the Binance.com website or Binance Markets Limited (BML)," a Binance spokesperson said. "BAS is backed by Vertex Holdings and is solely focused on growing the Singapore blockchain ecosystem and servicing users in Singapore."

The move comes on the heels of Binance's showdown last week with U.K. regulators over whether the exchange business had regulatory blessings to operate in the country. Japan had issued a similar notice the day before warning Binance wasn't registered to do business in the country.

In the U.K., sterling withdrawals from the crypto business' platform have been reactivated and users are once again able to buy digital coins with debit and credit cards.

Singapore, meanwhile, has some of the toughest cryptocurrency regulations in the world. In 2019, the city-state passed its Payment Services Act, which required digital asset service providers to get a license from the government.

MAS said it is applying "robust standards" in its review process, Bloomberg reported. The regulator considers qualifications such as an applicant's ability to prevent money laundering as well as its fitness and propriety of shareholders and key appointment holders.

Update (July 3, 3:36 UTC): Adds further comment from a Binance spokesperson.

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