October 11, 2022

Major U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase has received approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore to offer payment services in the region.

According to a report from Bloomberg on Oct. 10, the country’s central bank granted Coinbase an in-principal approval under the Payment Services Act.

“We see Singapore as a strategic market and a global hub for Web3 innovation,” said Hassan Ahmed, Coinbase’s regional director for Southeast Asia, in a statement to Bloomberg.

The crypto exchange has reportedly been building up a presence in the nation-state, hiring close to 100 employees to build its operations over the last year. Coinbase’s venture capital arm has also invested in more than 15 Singapore-based web3 firms since 2018.

Coinbase joins 16 other crypto firms, including crypto exchange Crypto.com (disclosure: a sponsor), that have been granted licenses by the central bank.

In addition to regulating the country’s monetary policy, the Monetary Authority of Singapore also serves as the country’s financial regulator and license applications are subject to an extensive due diligence process. At the time of writing, more than 180 companies had applied for a payment license under the new regime introduced by the authority in 2020.

In August, the Monetary Authority of Singapore hosted a seminar titled “Yes to Digital Asset Innovation, No to Cryptocurrency Speculation,” addressed by director Ravi Menon.

“Singapore wants to be a hub for innovative and responsible digital asset activities that enhance efficiency and create economic value,” said Menon at the time.

“Innovation and regulation are not incapable of co-existing. We do not split the difference by being less stringent in our regulation or being less facilitative of innovation,” he added.