Binance Says Singapore License Withdrawal Due to ‘Redundancy’ not AML Shortcomings

The company rejects a Bloomberg report that the license withdrawal was due to a lack of have sufficient anti-money laundering controls


Blockworks exclusive art by Axel Rangel


key takeaways

  • Singapore is no longer a candidate for the firm’s official home, as the exchange withdrew its application with the local regulator on December 13
  • Binance did not give a reason for the withdrawal, but Bloomberg is reporting that Singaporean regulators were concerned that the exchange could not adequately prevent money laundering or terror financing

Earlier this week Binance withdrew its application for a Digital Payment Token license in Singapore and signalled it would close its local Singaporean subsidiary, without giving a reason, leaving many to wonder why the company is seemingly abandoning the country where it was expected to set up its future headquarters

Now, Bloomberg is reporting that the exchange made the move because it wasn’t able to satisfy the Monetary Authority of Singapore that it has sufficient controls in place to prevent money laundering and terror financing. 

According to a report this summer from the Singaporean government, of the 170 firms that have applied for a DPT license, 30 have withdrawn while two have been rejected. The number of withdrawals is said to have increased to 100, according to reports. 

Investment in Singapore exchange HGX makes license ‘redundant’ 

Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao tweeted that the story was “fake news” and Binance is still committed to making Singapore a crypto hub in Asia.

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“Our decision to withdraw our license application was for strategic and commercial objectives only. Binance recently made a sizable investment into the regulated exchange HGX, which rendered our application for Binance Asia Services redundant,” a Binance spokesperson told Blockworks via email. “Binance Asia Services has had a robust approach to security, including risk-sensitive application of AML/CFT measures, mandatory KYC and ongoing collaboration with Singapore Police Force’s Anti-Scan Centre (ASC) to combat ransomware, hacks and scams.”

Will Binance go to Ireland or UAE?

Even though Singapore was the expected home of Binance, as the company made efforts to hire former Singapore Exchange executive Richard Teng as CEO of its local subsidiary in August, the exchange was rapidly working on a Plan B. In late November it registered a company in tax-friendly Ireland. 

Other reports say that the exchange is in negotiations with Dubai and Abu Dhabi — two members of the crypto-friendly United Arab Emirates — to open a headquarters there. 
As per an earlier announcement, Binance will halt trading on its Singapore subsidiary in January, while shutting down the operation entirely in February.

Binance’s eponymous BNB token is down 2.3% over the past 24 hours, according to CoinGecko, and down 8% on-week.

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