Coinbase Secures In Principle Approval as a Major Payment Institution License holder from MAS Singapore

On October 10, 2022, cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase announced that it has received IPA (in-principle approval) as a Major Payments Institution licence holder by the MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore), the central bank and financial regulatory authority of Singapore.

The successful IPA licence grant means that Coinbase will now be regulated by the central bank under its Payment Services Act and is eligible to offer payment services within the act, including DPT (Digital Payment Token) services, commonly referred to as cryptocurrencies.

Coinbase is the largest crypto exchange in the United States, and in Singapore, it currently houses over 100+ employees and actively invests in local Web3 startups. Coinbase’s Head of Southeast Asia, Hassan Ahmed, marked the announcement as a major milestone in the company’s effort to propel Singapore as a Web3 innovation hub and market in the APAC region.

MAS plays a major role in overseeing the institutional crypto environment and market in Singapore, and last year it announced plans to give IPAs to crypto firms. Over 180+ crypto firms have since applied for the license, but after careful due-diligence, MAS has given only 17 IPAs and licences to DPT platforms.

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Coinbase Secures MAS In Principle Approval for Digital Payment Token Services in Singapore -
Coinbase Secures MAS In Principle Approval for Digital Payment Token Services in Singapore –

The Payment Services Act (PS Act), which was passed in the Singaporean Parliament on January 14, 2019, and came into effect on January 28, 2020, regulates payment systems and payment service providers in Singapore under seven broad services, including DPT (Digital Payment Token).

And under the PS Act’s Major Payment Institution Licence class, businesses can conduct multiple payment services without being subject to any specified thresholds. Digital payment token service providers have to pay an annual licence fee of SGD $10,000 to conduct their licenced services.

Currently, as of October 2022, there are 7 Major Payment Institutions permitted to provide DPT Services, which are:

  • DBS VICKERS SECURITIES (SINGAPORE) PTE LTD, the brokerage arm of Singaporean multinational DBS Bank
  • DIGITAL TREASURES CENTER PTE. LTD., a Marina One headquartered enterprise offering a Unified Payment 3.0 gateway with crypto, cash, and card
  • FOMO PAY PTE. LTD., a major Singaporean payment institution offering seamless interoperability between fiat and digital currency
  • INDEPENDENT RESERVE SG PTE. LTD., Singapore’s first crypto exchange regulated by MAS, with multi-currency support (AUD, USD, NZD and SGD)
  • REVOLUT TECHNOLOGIES SINGAPORE PTE. LTD., a British fintech company which launched in Singapore in October 2019, and recently, as of 04 August 2022, started cryptocurrency service in Singapore, allowing users to purchase, sell and hold crypto tokens through its banking app.
  • SPARROW TECH PRIVATE LIMITED, options and digital asset trading platform
  • HAKO TECHNOLOGY PTE. LTD., Coinhako cryptocurrency exchange

Apart from these seven major payment institutions, two standard payment institutions are also permitted to provide digital payment token services in Singapore, namely, BHOP CONSULTING PTE. LTD., a leading digital asset trading platform, and TRIPLE A TECHNOLOGIES PTE. LTD., a crypto payment gateway in Singapore.

Earlier this year, many other cryptocurrency platforms also secured MAS’ In-Principle Approval to Offer Crypto Services in Singapore, which includes: Singapore-based cryptocurrency lending and borrowing platform Hodlnaut (in March 2022); New York-based regulated blockchain infrastructure platform Paxos (in March 2022); global cryptocurrency platform Luno (in April 2022); and Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange (in June 2022).

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