Crypto Exchange Coinbase Secures Singapore’s Digital Asset License

(Bloomberg) – Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc. has received a digital asset license in Singapore, where regulators are stepping up vigilance after high-profile blowouts by crypto firms like Three Arrows Capital.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has granted Coinbase Singapore approval in principle under the Payment Services Act to provide regulated services in the city-state, the company announced on Tuesday. Around 15 companies have received such permits since Singapore launched the licensing scheme in 2019, including rival Crypto.com.

Singapore will be a “beachhead” for Coinbase’s planned expansion into the Asia-Pacific region, where markets like Indonesia and Vietnam are attractive, said Hassan Ahmed, managing director of its local unit. Coinbase this month unveiled an overhaul of its operations in Australia, as part of efforts to bolster growth overseas.

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“We also see Singapore as a strategic market for institutional clients,” Ahmed said in an interview. He also pointed to Australia and Japan as “very key markets in the wider APAC region that we will continue to double down on”.

Read more: Crypto Exchange Coinbase revamps its platform in Australia

Coinbase has about 100 employees in Singapore, Ahmed said. The company has been selective when it comes to hiring in recent months, but is “starting to regain some appetite”, he said.

Singapore is emerging as a key crypto hub in Asia, with a regulatory regime seen as more comprehensive than that of rival financial hub Hong Kong. But the pace of licensing has been slow, with a series of industry upheavals forcing MAS to take a cautious approach to welcoming new players.

Three Arrows, a crypto hedge fund that was at one point based in Singapore, is being liquidated after aggressive betting on digital assets surged as token prices crashed.

Hodlnaut, a crypto lender that holds a license in Singapore, was granted creditor protection by the local High Court in August after the market rout prompted it to suspend withdrawals. Around the same time, the MAS said it was considering restricting retail investors’ use of leverage and credit facilities to trade digital assets.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong is prioritizing international growth after cutting nearly a fifth of the company’s workforce and reporting second-quarter revenue and trading volume that missed estimates. Its shares are down 73% year-to-date, underperforming the 60% drop in the MVIS CryptoCompare Digital Assets 100 Index.

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Crypto Exchange Coinbase Secures Singapore’s Digital Asset License


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