Singapore Issues Investor Alert for Binance

The crypto exchange is unregulated in Singapore and may have broken the law, according to the city-state’s financial watchdog.

Sep 2, 2021 at 5:54 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 2, 2021 at 1:42 p.m. UTC

The Monetary Authority of Singapore issued an investor alert for Binance’s global website, according to the central bank and regulator’s site.

  • The list includes entities that are unregulated by the MAS but that may be erroneously perceived as licensed or regulated, the agency said.
  • The MAS subsequently said Binance may have breached Singapore’s Payment Services Act by providing payment services to and soliciting business from residents of Singapore, Bloomberg reported. The authority ordered Binance to stop such activities immediately, according to the report.
  • In early July, MAS said that it would “follow up” with Binance’s Singapore entity, which at the time was waiting for the review of its license application.
  • In an emailed statement to CoinDesk on Thursday, Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, said it is aware of the notice and is “actively working” with the MAS to address the watchdog’s concerns.
  • In late August, Binance hired Richard Teng, the former CEO of Abu Dhabi’s financial watchdog, to head its Singapore operations, possibly to curb the regulatory tide against it.
  • Binance has been in regulators’ crosshairs all around the world in recent months, including in Japan and the U.K.
  • Singapore’s 2019 Payment Services Act requires crypto companies to be licensed to operate in the city-state.
  • The law has been perceived as largely positive toward the industry, because it creates a comprehensive legal framework under which crypto companies can operate. Hundreds of companies have applied for the licenses, and the MAS has started granting the coveted certifications.
  • On Wednesday, the MAS issued a digital token payments license to local fintech firm FOMO Pay.

UPDATE (SEPT. 2, 06:34 UTC): Adds Binance statement in fourth bullet point.

UPDATE (SEPT. 2, 10:39 UTC): Adds Bloomberg report in third bullet point.

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

Sebastian Sinclair is a CoinDesk news reporter based in Australia.