Singapore grants crypto license to Australian Exchange, DBS subsidiary

In a bold move and pitching itself as a crypto hub, Singapore will offer digital payment tokens by granting the license

After the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender by El Salvador in June this year, slowly other nations are testing the power of cryptocurrency too. 

In a bold move, Singapore has granted licenses to the Australian cryptocurrency exchange Independent Reserve and brokerage arm of DBS Bank Ltd to offer digital payment token services, pitching itself as a crypto hub.

License applicants were subject to an examination by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to review its policies and procedures regarding customer protection mechanisms, transaction screening, and compliance structures, as well as the robustness of its information technology services.

After this, both the companies will provide digital payment token services as a major payment institution. 

The two firms have added to Singapore's expanding activities in cryptocurrency as the island ramps up integrated financial services for Bitcoin and other major digital assets such as trading, listing, tokenization and custody.

The approval for Southeast Asia’s largest lender is seen as key to show how the MAS will regulate the sector that’s seen as risky and open to money laundering.

The license to the DBS subsidiary will enable its DBS Digital Exchange (DDEx) to directly support asset managers and companies to trade in digital payment tokens.


The improvement 

Independent Reserve CEO Adrian Przelozny said that Singapore’s well-regulated environment would thoroughly address investor protection concerns including the safe custody of assets, KYC requirements, and market manipulation, making it easier to provide cryptocurrency services to financial institutions that wish to trade digital assets.

The approval could add to DDEx’s volumes in the coming months and accelerate growth momentum for DBS’ digital asset ecosystem”, DBS’ head of capital markets Eng-Kwok Seat Moey said in a statement.

DDEx is set up for institutional investors and qualified individuals, including clients of its DBS Vickers securities unit and its private bank. It offers exchange services between Singapore, US and Hong Kong dollars, as well as the yen, and Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin cash and XRP.

Whereas, Independent Reserve, which has set up its Singapore operations in 2019 to provide digital asset exchange to people and institutions, currently offers US dollar, Singapore dollar, Australian dollar and New Zealand dollar fiat-to-crypto trading pairs. 

MAS said that it would create a digital platform enabling banks to share information on customers and transactions, part of efforts to prevent money laundering and financing of criminal activity.

The new digital platform will be launched in the first half of 2023 and make it available to the city state’s six biggest commercial banks in the initial phase that includes DBS, OCBC, United Overseas Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Citibank and HSBC.

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