Monday, January 24

Binance Quits Singapore Cryptocurrency Exchange App

Binance Asia Services Ltd., the Singapore affiliate of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, withdrew its application to run an exchange in the city-state, ending an effort that began last year to gain approval from authorities in Singapore.

Fiat-to-crypto trading platform will shut down operations and close in February. On December 13, Binance Asia said in an emailed statement. The company was among some 170 firms that applied to the Monetary Authority of Singapore for a permit to provide cryptocurrency services.

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The withdrawal from the Singapore process is likely to end speculation that the Southeast Asian city-state would become the global headquarters for Binance, the company co-founded and led by entrepreneur Changpeng Zhao.

“We always put our users first, so our decision to shut down was not taken lightly,” said Richard Teng, CEO of Binance’s Singapore entity. “I am grateful to the Monetary Authority of Singapore for their continued assistance to Binance Asia Services and we look forward to future opportunities to work together.”

Binance Asia has taken into account “global strategic, business and development considerations” in its decision to withdraw its application from Singapore, the company said.

Headquarters search

Founded in China in 2017, Binance Holdings Ltd. has yet to establish a global base. Instead, Zhao has incorporated companies in places where Binance operates.

Zhao, who has Canadian citizenship and has been based in Singapore for the past two years, has given mixed signals on where he could base his company, saying that places in Europe and the Middle East offer pro-crypto alternatives alongside Singapore.

The 44-year-old said last month that he had bought his first home in Dubai to show a commitment to the jurisdiction he described as “very pro-crypto”, along with France. Binance has also revived plans to register in the UK, Zhao told The Telegraph.

Cryptocurrencies extended their declines after Binance’s move. Bitcoin, the world’s largest digital currency, fell as much as 3% to approximately $ 48,484. Ether, the second largest, fell as much as 4.1%.

Whats Next?

Binance Asia will reorient its operations towards blockchain technology, according to the statement.

“Not all crypto activities are regulated, and larger and larger crypto players might want to consider having separate regulated and unregulated entities, to optimize their revenue and partnership models in different jurisdictions,” said Chia Hock Lai, Co-Chair of the Blockchain. Association Singapore.

Zhao is the majority shareholder of Binance Asia, according to a presentation to the Corporate and Accounting Regulatory Authority. Vertex Venture Holdings Ltd. of Temasek Holdings Pte. Is an investor in Binance Asia, the presentation shows.

Binance’s withdrawal from its Singapore application also raised questions about the future of Teng, a former high-flying regulator who joined the Singapore entity in August. The Singaporean previously held positions, including that of regulatory director of Singapore Exchange Ltd., and spent 13 years with the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

All local employees will join the company’s global operations and continue to contribute to the company, said Hazel Watts, a spokeswoman for Binance in Singapore.

One option for future Binance headquarters is the Middle East. The UAE central bank recently unveiled a digital asset framework, while regulators in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are set to start issuing crypto licenses in the coming months.

But any turn in the region would have to be guided by new leadership. Omar Rahim, Binance’s director for the Middle East and North Africa, wrote in a LinkedIn post that he recently left the company to start a new crypto venture. His replacement has yet to be publicly named.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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