Singapore regulators on Thursday added the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance, to its Investor Alert List. The list includes unregulated entities that may have been wrongly perceived as being licensed or regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
A Binance spokesperson confirmed that Binance.com was aware of the MAS notice and is “actively working with the MAS to address concerns that they may have through constructive dialogue.”
The spokespersons pointed out that Binance.com and Binance Singapore (Binance.sg) are separate exchanges.
Binance.sg operates in Singapore with its own local executive and management team. Binance Singapore is backed by Vertex Venture Holdings and is solely focused on growing the Singapore cryptocurrency ecosystem and servicing users in Singapore.
Vertex Holdings is a venture capital investment holding company based in Singapore. It is owned by the state investment firm Temasek Holdings.
According to the Binance spokesperson, the MAS notice “has no direct impact on the services provided on Binance Singapore. Our relationship with our users has not changed.”
Binance Singapore currently operates as Binance Asia Services (BAS) and is exempted from holding a license as part of transitional arrangements under the city-state’s Payment Services Act (PS Act).
The exemption allows individuals and businesses to operate while their license applications are being processed, and the exemption becomes invalid when the entity’s license application is approved, rejected, or withdrawn.
BAS submitted a license application that remains under review until it can demonstrate that it is able to meet the requirements given by the PS Act. The spokesperson noted:
As Binance did not apply for a license under the PS Act, MAS has listed Binance.com on the Investor Alert List (IAL), to warn consumers in Singapore that Binance is not regulated or licensed in Singapore to provide any payment services. Binance is required to cease providing payment services which are regulated under the PS Act to Singapore residents and cease soliciting such business from Singapore residents[…] (MAS) expects BAS to immediately begin an orderly suspension of its facilitation of transfers of digital payment token assets between BAS and Binance. BAS will inform its customers of the appropriate arrangements as soon as practicable.
Meanwhile, Binance Singapore announced the appointment of the former chief regulatory officer of the Singapore Exchange (SGX), Richard Teng, as its chief executive. The appointment is aimed at strengthening its leadership ranks with former regulators as Binance continues to struggle with regulatory scrutiny around the world.
In recent months, Binance has been faced regulatory warnings in several countries around the world, including the UK, Japan, Italy, and Germany, as authorities took issue with the company’s lack of transparency and alleged offering of regulated products without appropriate approvals.