Binance Applied for Singapore’s New Crypto License, CEO Says

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(Feb 17): Binance Holdings Ltd., operator of one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, has applied for an operating license in Singapore under the government’s new payments legislation.

“We have already applied,” Binance co-founder and CEO “CZ” Zhao Changpeng said in a phone interview. “We submitted the application pretty fast. Binance’s Singapore entity has been in close touch with the local regulators, and they have always been open-minded.”

The Payment Services Act, which came into force last month, is the first comprehensive regulation for companies handling activities ranging from digital payments to trading of tokens such as Bitcoin and Ether. In addition to bringing crypto firms into the regulatory fold, the law will hand the Monetary Authority of Singapore formal supervisory powers for cybersecurity risks and controls on money laundering and terrorism financing.

Tokyo-based crypto exchange operator Liquid Group Inc. and London-based Luno, which operate in Singapore, have already said they plan to apply for the licenses.

Binance has an office in Singapore and is backed by Vertex Venture Holdings Ltd., the venture capital arm of Singapore-based Temasek Holdings Pte. The firm, which started off in 2017 as a crypto-to-crypto trading platform, gained momentum by handling crypto only, which allowed it to grow rapidly without dealing with banks and regulators. But more recently, the startup has set up regulatory-compliant exchanges in jurisdictions like Singapore to appeal to a larger user base.