Regulation: Crypto exchange Coinbase receives full licence in Singapore



Important regulatory news for crypto exchange Coinbase, which recently received a full licence in Singapore, opening up new opportunities for the expansion of its digital payment token services in the region. 

See below for full details.

Coinbase crypto exchange takes decisive step into Singapore regulation 

As expected, crypto exchange platform Coinbase has received a significant regulatory licence in Singapore. 

Specifically, the Monetary Authority of Singapore recently granted Coinbase a major payment institution licence, solidifying the company’s regulatory path. 

This development comes at a time when Coinbase is embroiled in a complex dispute with regulators in the United States, its core market. 

As we know, the US Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against Coinbase last June, accusing it of operating as an unregistered broker and exchange in violation of federal securities laws.

Commenting on the news, Hassan Ahmed, National Director of Coinbase Singapore, said: 

This license establishes our commitment to the market and marks the conclusion of a long licensing process.”

Ahmed also pointed out that Coinbase’s experience in Singapore was in stark contrast to the challenges faced in the US. Working closely with the Monetary Authority of Singapore and providing input on regulatory policy has been integral to our success.

This new regulatory milestone provides Coinbase with a solid foundation to further expand its services and consolidate its international presence as the company continues to navigate regulatory challenges in global markets.

Coinbase Singapore expands reach with new regulatory licence

As previously announced, Coinbase Singapore, in partnership with Standard Chartered as its local banking partner, has obtained a regulatory licence that will open the door to a more comprehensive offering of digital payment token services to retail and institutional customers in the region. 

This move further strengthens Coinbase’s relationship with local institutions.

The company has demonstrated its commitment to the local market by adapting its products to meet the specific needs of the region, including the integration of account funding options such as PayNow and FAST bank transfers, as well as free USDC transactions, the stablecoin.

Although Singapore is considered a relatively cryptocurrency-friendly jurisdiction, its attitude towards the sector has been tested over the past year due to crises involving cryptocurrency companies linked to the territory. 

However, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) still appears willing to favour those applying for regulatory licences. Coinbase now joins a dozen other crypto operators in the region that have been granted full licences, demonstrating Singapore’s attractiveness as a cryptocurrency hub.

Again, Hassan Ahmed commented on the matter as follows:

“I think Singapore is ahead of some other crypto hubs. They have addressed both positive protagonists and problematic cases and are now strengthening regulation.”

More positive news for Coinbase: licence to trade futures 

Coinbase International Exchange recently received a licence to facilitate futures trading on its platform. The exchange, which has long been committed to bringing cryptocurrency trading to the mainstream, had made crypto derivatives services available to institutional users in May 2023. 

With this latest regulatory approval, it is now able to offer clients access to properly regulated perpetual futures contracts. The exchange revealed that 75%  of its cryptocurrency trading volume comes from the derivatives market.

The introduction of futures contracts allows Coinbase to attract traditional traders and extend its reach into the crypto derivatives sector, a territory previously dominated by institutional players. 

This move is a step towards more democratisation of access to advanced financial instruments and will provide greater liquidity to traders, all within the regulatory framework.

However, it is important to note that Coinbase is currently unable to serve US clients due to regulatory restrictions. In fact, the exchange is only allowed to offer services to non-US customers, who must first undergo a suitability assessment before they can invest in these financial instruments.

Recently, Coinbase International received another significant approval from the National Futures Association, allowing it to offer crypto futures only to qualified institutional buyers in the US. 

Now, with the approval to offer perpetual futures to retail customers, Coinbase continues to gain ground in the regulatory arena and in expanding its service offering.