In the latest chapter in the ongoing Binance saga, Singapore’s Central Bank has told the cryptocurrency exchange that it “could be in breach of local laws” and needs to stop providing services to Singapore’s residents.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said this week: “MAS has reviewed Binance.com’s operations and is of the view that Binance, the operator of Binance.com, may be in breach of the Payment Services Act.”
It continued: “Binance is required to cease providing payment services … to Singapore residents and cease soliciting such business from Singapore residents.”
The MAS has also placed Binance.com on its “Investor Alert List”, according to the South China Morning Post. The list alerts local consumers that Binance is not allowed to provide payment services in the country.
Binance Singapore told the SCMP that its “Singapore operations are conducted by a separate legal entity from Binance.com, with its own local executive and management team”.
Binance Asia Services has applied for a license is “is currently exempted from holding a license for the provision of digital payment token services,” according to the MAS. The application remains under review.
Recall, this past summer, Binance was banned in the UK when Britain’s financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, imposed stringent requirements against it.
“A significantly high number of cryptoasset businesses are not meeting the required standards under the money laundering regulations, which has resulted in an unprecedented number of businesses withdrawing their applications,” an FCA spokesperson said at the time. Of the firms assessed, more than 90% had withdrawn applications following the FCA’s intervention.
The move represented the UK’s most substantial regulatory crackdown on the cryptocurrency sector amid concerns about its potential involvement in money laundering and fraud. Binance withdrew an application related to the 5MLD – an anti-laundering directive – on May 17 following “intensive engagement from the FCA,” according to the watchdog, which said the action had been in train for some time.
Binance is one of the most important operators in the fast-emerging crypto market, offering a wide range of services to customers around the world, including trading in dozens of digital coins, futures, options, stock tokens, as well as savings accounts and lending.
As the FT reminded us, Germany’s financial watchdog also warned investors in April that Binance had probably violated securities rules over its launch of trading in stock tokens, something the exchange tried unsuccessfully to appeal against.