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Coinbase Gets Payments License in ‘Priority Market’ of Singapore


Cryptocurrency giant Coinbase has received a payments license from Singapore’s central bank.

The license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will let Coinbase provide digital payment token services to individuals and institutions in the Southeast Asian city-state, according to a Monday (Oct. 2) company blog post.

The move comes as several crypto companies look to Singapore to expand their business amid an industry crackdown in the United States. In the blog post, Coinbase called Singapore a “priority market” for the company.

“From our initial involvement in the Lion City, we’ve identified Singapore as a vital market for Coinbase,” the post said. “The nation’s progressive economic strategies and approach to regulation sync well with our global mission and objectives.”

A quarter of Singaporeans think of crypto as the future of finance, while 32% either own or have owned cryptocurrency, according to the post. The country is also home to more than 700 Web3 firms, “making it a pivotal market for the growth of the crypto and Web3 economy.”

Coinbase — along with fellow crypto exchange Binance — was sued in June by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over a host of alleged securities law violations.

As PYMNTS wrote soon after, the SEC has determined that “pretty much every crypto token outside of bitcoin, all 25,000-plus of them, can be defined as a security and should therefore be regulated by the agency.”

Rather than going token by token, the report added, “the SEC is going right for the jugular and targeting the major players that facilitate the exchange and trading of digital assets, as well as the sector’s on-and-off ramps to traditional financial ecosystems.”

Against this backdrop, PYMNTS wrote, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Singapore “are all increasingly being viewed as attractive jurisdictions by crypto players, given the hostile landscape in the U.S.”

For example, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said at the Token2049 conference in Singapore last month that his company plans to hire 80% of its employees from countries he argued are better than the U.S. at regulating cryptocurrency.

“It’s super frustrating that you see markets like we have here in Singapore … where the governments are partnering with the industry, and you’re seeing leadership providing clear rules, and you’re seeing growth,” Garlinghouse said at the time. “And frankly that’s why Ripple is hiring there.”

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