(Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article stated that more than 300 companies had applied for cryptocurrency licenses. The article has been updated to better reflect their requests.)
According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), over 300 companies in the country have applied for licenses to operate payment services and crypto exchanges in the city.
These services include the provision of account issuing services, domestic money transfer services, digital payment (cryptocurrency) token services, and more.
Applicants include well-known technology companies such as Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. and Ant Group, Binance Holdings Ltd. as well as Google's parent company Alphabet Inc.
Currently, these companies have been granted an exemption from holding a license under the Payment Services Act for the respective payment services for a certain period of time.
These companies filed for the Payment Services Act, a comprehensive regulatory framework for companies that conduct activities related to digital assets, including payments and trading.
MAS currently regulates service providers who deal with exchanging cryptocurrencies if they own the money or the cryptocurrency. Under the law, the authority's powers include regulatory action against such providers, even if they may not have the money or cryptocurrency in question.
The agency's chief financial technology officer, Sopnendu Mohanty, said in an interview with Bloomberg that the MAS is still processing applications under the Payment Services Act.
These companies have been working under a grace period since the regulatory authority put the new Payment Services Act into force in January 2020.
“Licensing someone is a premium, it shouldn't be taken lightly. We make sure that anyone who gets a MAS license is credible, ”said Mohanty.
A schedule for the issuance of the first license has not been specified, but companies can continue to offer certain payment services while their applications are being processed.
Increased demand for cryptocurrencies in Singapore
Cryptocurrencies have grown in popularity internationally since the first, Bitcoin, in 2009.
As the demand for cryptocurrencies increases, the private sector has taken steps here to strengthen its presence in cryptocurrencies.
DBS Bank, for example, recently launched an escrow solution for cryptocurrencies through the bank's wholly owned trust company, DBS Trustee. It is also Asia's first bank-backed trust solution for crypto.
It was recently reported that the global lifestyle and gaming company Razer is “carefully evaluating” a possible entry into the cryptocurrency space.
Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is an important pillar of content for Vulcan Post. The rest of our cryptocurrency coverage can be found here.
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