During an event earlier today, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will today give three in-principle approvals for digital payment token service licenses. A digital payment token is the MAS term for cryptocurrencies. The major cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com has confirmed it’s one of the recipients and a source told Ledger Insights that the other two are prime broker Genesis and Singapore crypto options exchange Sparrowtech.
They join 11 other in-principle license recipients, including stablecoin providers, crypto exchanges, and traditional financial institutions. We reported that Paxos received an in-principle license for stablecoins, crypto brokerage and custody in January.
At the beginning of the year, the Monetary Authority of Singapore clamped down on cryptocurrencies, particularly retail-targeted promotions. They essentially banned the use of advertising and social media influencers to sell cryptocurrency services. Several crypto players have migrated to other jurisdictions.
One high profile one is Three Arrows Capital (3AC), the major crypto hedge fund that has had financial troubles in the last couple of weeks. The founders moved to Dubai while the company’s domicile migrated to the British Virgin Islands.
During the Deputy Prime Minister’s speech, Heng reiterated that cryptocurrencies are “unsuitable for retail investment.” However, he emphasized Singapore’s commitment to enabling innovation through blockchain, giving the nod to the benefits of tokenization, reducing the role of rent-seeking intermediaries and the ability to reduce settlement risks.
Heng, Singapore’s former Finance Minister, also highlighted Singapore’s role in Project Dunbar, a multi-CBDC solution for cross border payments.