Tokyo's Liquid Group and London-based Luno are among the firms planning to apply for the licences/Bloombergby Bloomberg
Singapore has introduced new payments legislation that offers global cryptocurrency firms a chance to expand their operations in the country by applying for operating licences for the first time.
The law will hand the Monetary Authority of Singapore formal supervisory powers for cybersecurity risks and controls on money laundering and terrorism financing, bringing crypto firms into the regulatory fold.
Increased investor interest in digital tokens has encouraged several regulators around the world to bring the venues under their scrutiny, especially for money laundering and other illicit activities. The measure narrows the gap with Japan, currently a major Asian centre for cryptocurrency trading after 22 exchanges received licences there since 2017.
Tokyo-based crypto exchange operator Liquid Group and London-based Luno, which already operate in Singapore, are among the firms planning to apply for the licences.
Sherry Goh, Luno’s Singapore General Manager, said, “The legislation provides regulatory certainty to industry players but, more importantly, it provides consumers with a clear sense of the players they can trust.” Luno obtained an operating licence in Malaysia in 2019.
Twenty of the top 50 crypto exchanges in the world are based in the Asia-Pacific region and accounted for about 40 per cent of Bitcoin transactions in Q1 2019.
Binance Holdings, the operator of one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, has an office in Singapore and is backed by Vertex Venture Holdings, the venture capital arm of Singapore-based Temasek Holdings.