Coinbase, the leading cryptocurrency exchange in the US, has been granted a full primary payment institution license under Singapore’s Payment Services Act, a significant step forward after the initial in-principle approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) about a year ago, allowing the firm to offer a broader range of digital asset payment services in the country.
The license enables Coinbase to enhance its offerings for individual users and institutional clients, marking a pivotal moment for the exchange in accelerating its relationships with stakeholders, mainly regulated entities like banks, according to Hassan Ahmed, the country director of Coinbase Singapore.
The full license is crucial in facilitating the exchange’s expansion into institutional business with established financial institutions.
Presently, Coinbase provides trading and staking services in Singapore. Staking involves locking up digital tokens for a specific duration to validate transactions on the blockchain, earning users additional tokens as rewards.
Coinbase, with approximately 100 employees in Singapore, comprising product managers, engineers, and staff in various departments, aims to grow its team responsibly and sustainably in alignment with business growth and opportunities.
Having entered the Singaporean market in 2015 before establishing rules for Digital Payment Token (DPT) service providers, Coinbase’s journey towards full licensure was set in motion when the firm applied for a license from the MAS before July 2020.
In a recent statement, Hassan Ahmed emphasized Singapore’s forward-thinking approach to crypto and its robust Web3 ecosystem, housing over 700 Web3 companies, making it a natural fit for Coinbase’s operations.
A survey conducted by Coinbase earlier this year revealed that a significant portion of Singaporeans (25%) view cryptocurrencies as the future of finance, with 32% owning or currently owning some form of crypto asset.
Coinbase has taken significant steps to cater to the local market, introducing additional funding options earlier this year, including PayNow, banks’ Fast and Secure Transfers service, and the Singpass onboarding system.
With its Asia-Pacific technology hub in Singapore, Coinbase has shown a solid commitment to the region, investing in over 15 Web3 start-ups through Coinbase Ventures.
Despite facing regulatory challenges, including a lawsuit filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in June, Coinbase has demonstrated robust performance, with its shares doubling in value in 2023 and consistently exceeding revenue estimates.