Binance Bid for Singapore License is Back On

The crypto exchange’s custodial arm will make an official application to Singapore’s MAS once the custody license opens, executive says


Source: Shutterstock / mimisim, modified by Blockworks


Cryptocurrency exchange Binance will have another go at securing a permit in Singapore, and it’s now eyeing corporate clients rather than retail investors to comply with local rules.

The exchange’s custodial arm is set to apply for a permit to offer the crypto-related services “in due course,” Nikkei reported Tuesday, citing the unit’s executives. 

A Binance spokesperson confirmed the development, identifying Binance’s institutional custodian partner as Ceffu. The name appears to be a play on the term SAFU (Secure Asset Fund for Users), which is Binance’s emergency insurance fund.

Ceffu will officially apply to the Monetary Authority of Singapore once the application for a custody license opens, Athena Yu, vice president of Ceffu, told Blockworks.

“Given [Singapore’s] reputation in innovation, good corporate governance and a strong regulatory framework, it’s no surprise that institutional investors are attracted to set up shop here,” she said, adding that local and international institutional investors will want to capitalize on Singapore’s connectivity as a financial hub.

Ceffu launched its Singapore business specifically to provide custody services to institutional investors there, she added.

Binance had added a Singaporean subsidiary as it sought licensing in the city-state in 2021. In December that year, the subsidiary withdrew its application and wound down services, saying user registrations would be halted. 

Alexandr Onufriychuk, the head of growth at Corite, a music blockchain company in Singapore, said the Monetary Authority has long been unambiguous about its position on cryptocurrencies. But huge delays in its review process were a problem, he pointed out.

“That is why Binance and a host of other major trading platforms withdrew their applications in 2021 after the months-long wait. The return of Binance is a sign that the trading platform has decided that patience is a virtue and that the delayed registration process in Singapore is better than the lack of clarity that it is facing in regions like the United States,” he said.

Singapore is also an attractive destination where the political environment is seen as comparatively stable, with its central bank outlining tighter rules around the crypto industry to limit risks to retail investors specifically.

Recent actions by Singapore regulators indicate that they want to subject cryptocurrency service companies to stricter supervision and scrutiny, hoping to develop the industry towards compliance, James Wo, founder of blockchain tech firm Digital Finance Group, told Blockworks.

“Binance’s application for a license for its custody department is a core move towards transitioning from retail customers to enterprise customers and developing towards compliant investment,” he said.

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