More than 100 of 170 “digital payments token services” in Singapore failed to get licenses from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
Despite the apparent strict regulation, 103 companies in the digital payments industry in Singapore were able to have their exemptions from regulatory requirements removed, Japan’s financial publication The Nikkei reported Monday. The Nikkei cited data from the MAS.
Sanjay Jain CEO of Bitxmi, a Dubai-based crypto exchange, stated that their Singaporean branch failed to receive a license from MAS.
Jain stated that “we can’t operate here.” Jain stated that although there is an office in Singapore, it is not sufficient to handle all our legal and accounting needs.
According to the MAS, Bitxmi exchange is listed on the official list that entities are no longer exempt from the Payment Services Regulations. The list, which was published on Wednesday, includes local branches from major industry players such as BitGo Singapore and Revolut Technology Singapore. It also includes South Korean blockchain firm Klaytn.
A second list includes entities that were exempted from the Payment Services Act. These include Bitstamp Limited and Coinbase Singapore. Gemini Trust is another.
According to MAS, the authority said it wants to encourage crypto and blockchain adoption, but is also open to the possibility of recognizing the risks. One representative from MAS stated that cryptocurrencies could be used to finance money laundering, terrorism financing, or proliferation financing because of their speed and cross-border nature.
“Digital payment token service providers Singapore must comply with requirements in order to mitigate such risks. These include the need to conduct proper customer due diligence and regular account reviews. They also have to monitor and report suspicious transactions.
Related: Singapore will position itself as a global crypto center, according to regulator
This news comes as some of the most prominent cryptocurrency exchanges are leaving Singapore. Binance.sg (the local branch of Binance), announced plans to close down all operations by mid February. Huobi exchange previously announced plans to close all accounts of Singapore-based users by March 2022, in order to allow them to re-enter Singapore via another local entity.