Upbit Singapore, a subsidiary of South Korea’s largest exchange, Upbit, has received in-principle approval for a Major Payment Institution (MPI) licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). This approval allows Upbit Singapore to continue providing regulated Digital Payment Token (DPT) services to institutional investors while awaiting the full licence.
The CEO of Upbit Singapore, Alex Kim, expressed the significance of this approval, stating that the firm, established in 2018, views it as a strategic milestone to deepen its presence in Singapore. Kim emphasised Singapore’s role as the leading financial hub in Asia and highlighted the approval as a testament to the unwavering commitment of Upbit Singapore to building trusted digital asset businesses in the region.
Azman Hamid, the Chief Compliance Officer of Upbit Singapore, echoed Kim’s sentiments, emphasising the global recognition of MAS as a financial regulator. Hamid stated that the approval reflects the firm’s dedication to building trusted digital asset businesses in Singapore and its commitment to further establishing the country as a leading hub for the next generation of financial businesses.
The MAS sets a high regulatory standard for the digital asset industry, fostering sustainable innovation. The collaboration between the regulator and businesses in Singapore is inclusive and promotes innovation while maintaining a strong commitment to consumer protection. Singapore’s reputation for supporting innovation and consumer protection has made it a top location for committed innovators in the digital asset space.
Upon receiving the MPI licence, Upbit Singapore will join the group of regulated digital asset exchanges operated under Upbit APAC, a global digital asset group. Upbit APAC includes regulated digital asset exchanges in Indonesia and Thailand, as well as VerifyVASP, a leading Travel Rule solution provider. The group aims to accelerate its expansion globally, focusing on institutional and infrastructure businesses.
Upbit Singapore’s approval comes amid a trend of regulatory approvals for cryptocurrency firms in Singapore. In October alone, entities such as Coinbase, Ripple, and Sygnum Bank’s Singapore branch received licence approvals from MAS. The regulatory landscape in Singapore is attracting global industry players seeking to tap into the growth potential offered by institutional investors in the region.
Upbit Singapore, which was established in 2018, operates as the Asia-Pacific arm for Upbit’s global business. The exchange serves both institutional and retail investors, with a focus on complying with regulatory requirements in the rapidly evolving digital asset space. The regulatory approval is seen as a positive step for Upbit Singapore’s expansion plans, with the exchange looking to increase its manpower in compliance, legal, and institutional and Web3 business development following the regulatory approval.
Once the full licence is granted, Upbit Singapore plans to exit its current “stealth mode” and expand its offerings, including a broader list of digital assets, increased liquidity, and enhanced institutional offerings. The exchange is positioning itself to play a key role in the evolving landscape of digital assets, contributing to Singapore’s position as a leading hub for the next generation of financial businesses.