Singapore Financial Regulator ‘Following Up’ With Binance

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In Brief
  • Due to increased scrutiny around the world, Binance has now come under review by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

  • Binance has received increased scrutiny around the world recently.

  • MAS recently launched a global CBDC challenge.

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Due to increased scrutiny around the world, Binance has now come under review by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

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Binance’s entity in the region, Binance Asia Services Pte., has been operating during a grace period. This is while the Monetary Authority of Singapore reviews its application for a license to provide digital payment token services. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has a similar arrangement in its Temporary Registrations Regimes. It recently extended this service until March 2022.

A MAS representative said that other companies are undergoing a similar assessment, but can still continue their operations. “We are aware of the actions taken by other regulatory authorities against Binance and will follow up as appropriate,” the authority said.

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Binance issues

The review comes amid increased scrutiny on Binance at a near-global level. The UK’s FCA issued a consumer warning against Binance Markets. As such, the firm is not authorized to advertise or sell its products in the UK. The FCA also highlighted that neither Binance Markets nor any other entity in the Binance Group “holds any form of UK authorization, registration, or license to conduct regulated activity in the UK.” Binance has also seen increased scrutiny from Japan and Canada.

However, Binance Asia Services is a separate legal entity and does not offer any products or services. The Singapore entity is backed by Vertex Ventures Holdings, and focuses on growing the local blockchain ecosystem and servicing users here, it said. The exchange is seeking a license that would legitimize its operations in Singapore, along with crypto firms including New York-based Gemini Trust Co. LLC and Hong Kong-based Crypto.com.

MAS CBDC challenge

Meanwhile, although MAS may be critical of cryptocurrency use, it seems enthused by the potential of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). Earlier this week MAS announced the launch of a global challenge for retail CBDCs. MAS hopes to attract financial technology (FinTech) companies and financial institutions around the world. It invites them to submit innovative solutions regarding a CBDC instrument, its distribution, and its infrastructure.

Up to 15 finalists will be selected to receive mentorship from industry experts. Out of the 15 finalists, up to three winners will be selected, who will each receive S$50,000 in prize money.

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Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage. He can best be described as an optimistic center-left skeptic.

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