Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has secured a Major Payment Institution (MPI) licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). This milestone comes almost a year after the firm received preliminary approval from MAS. Coinbase now joins a group of more than a dozen firms licensed to provide digital payment token services in Singapore.
The MPI licence allows Coinbase to expand its offerings of digital asset payment services to both individuals and institutions in Singapore. Currently, the exchange provides trading and staking services, with staking involving the locking up of users’ digital tokens for a specific period to validate transactions on the blockchain, earning additional tokens as a reward.
According to Mr. Hassan Ahmed, country director of Coinbase Singapore, the local team comprises nearly 100 professionals, including product managers, engineers, business development experts, and legal and compliance personnel. Coinbase sees Singapore as a significant market due to its progressive stance towards crypto and the robust Web3 ecosystem, with over 700 Web3 companies operating in the country.
In a survey conducted by Coinbase in May, it was found that 25% of surveyed Singaporeans view crypto as the future of finance, and 32% have either owned or currently own some form of crypto assets. The exchange has been responsive to local demand by introducing convenient funding options, including PayNow and FAST bank transfers, along with the SingPass onboarding system earlier this year.
Singapore plays a crucial role in Coinbase’s broader strategy, serving as its Asia-Pacific technology hub. The company has invested in more than 15 Web3 startups in the region through its investment arm, Coinbase Ventures. Despite regulatory challenges, such as a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleging illegal operations, Coinbase reported improved financial results in August. In the second quarter, its net loss narrowed to US$97 million from a record US$1.1 billion the previous year, while revenue exceeded estimates, reaching US$707.9 million, although it declined by 12% compared to the previous quarter.
The granting of the MPI licence is seen as a validation of Coinbase’s operations and a commitment to the growing crypto and Web3 community in Singapore.
The company emphasises its commitment to working with regulators in key countries and highlights Singapore’s significance as a priority market in its international growth. Coinbase aims to contribute to the growth of the regional crypto economy by fostering collaborations with the local developer community, supporting industry associations, and making region-specific investments.
The recent licence acquisition represents not only approval but also a shared commitment to supporting and growing with the local crypto and Web3 community in Singapore.