Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has secured a Major Payment Institution (MPI) license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
The approval enables the world’s largest listed crypto exchange to provide digital payment token services to both individuals and institutions in Singapore. Coinbase received initial approval for this license in October 2022.
The move also further cements the city-state’s position as a hub for cryptocurrency activity in Asia. It comes even as regulators in Singapore said they may implement consumer protections for crypto investors, which could include suitability tests, curbs on leverage trading and credit facilities. The regulator may restrict retail investment in the crypto sector through new consumer protection safeguards.
Coinbase already offers a range of new products tailored for its users in Singapore including incentives for users using USDC, the stablecoin pegged to the US dollar that was developed in concert with Circle. The exchange doesn’t impose any commissions for Singaporean customers purchasing USDC with Singapore dollars (SGD). Additionally, the exchange listed 200 trading pairs against USDC, expanding the available options for advanced trading. The platform has also introduced a crypto staking service, allowing users to earn rewards by holding USDC.
Earlier in March, Coinbase updated its retail platform in Singapore to reflect a new strategic banking partnership with Standard Chartered that enables customers to move funds to and from accounts via local banks.
Coinbase customers in Singapore can easily cash in or cash out of their exchange accounts using bank transfers for free. This provides users with more flexibility and control over their assets as they were previously forced to use debit or credit cards to transact with Coinbase.
The Nasdaq-listed crypto exchange operator has also integrated with Singpass, Singapore’s national digital identity (NDI). The scheme provides a convenient and secure platform for users to transact with government agencies and 700 private sector organisations. The suite of its services includes a simple “2-click” experience that Singaporeans are accustomed to using across their apps, making it even easier for Coinbase to onboard them to the platform.
The decision to expand services in Singapore is part of Coinbase’s broader international expansion strategy, which included the launch of an international derivatives exchange in Bermuda. This expansion comes amidst a deepening regulatory crackdown in its home country.
This approval is also yet another milestone in Singapore’s positive stance on digital assets and sets the stage for further growth in the country’s digital ecosystem. In addition to Coinbase, a few other entities hold major payment institution (MPI) licenses in Singapore. These include Ripple, DBS Vickers, Digital Treasures Center, Fomo Pay, Independent Reserve, Metacomp, Paxos, Revolut, Sparrow Tech, and Hako.