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Coinbase awarded full major payment institution licence from MAS

Nicole Lim
Nicole Lim • 2 min read
Coinbase awarded full major payment institution licence from MAS
Coinbase follows and Circle, who were awarded full licences this June. Photo: Bloomberg
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US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has received its major payment institution (MPI) licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), following its in-principle approval from the state regulator last October. 

This licence will allow Coinbase to offer regulated digital payment token (DPT) products and services. It will also pave the way for an enhanced range of DPT services to both individuals and institutions, according to a release from Coinbase on Oct 2. 

So far, more than a dozen firms have received the MPI and in-principle approvals from the MAS. Most recently, crypto exchange and Boston-based stablecoin issuer Circle, were awarded the full licence in June. 

This year, Coinbase introduced new funding options including PayNow and FAST bank transfers, alongside the SingPass onboarding system, as a means for more local integration. 

The release notes that Coinbase acknowledges the significant role of the Monetary Authority of Singapore in its journey. “The newly acquired licence is not only a validation of Coinbase's operations but also represents a promise and responsibility to the growing crypto and Web3 community in Singapore,” according to the release. 

Hassan Ahmed, the country director of Coinbase Singapore, says, "Coinbase emphasises the importance of clear regulatory paths, innovation, and user trust. Singapore's progressive stance towards crypto and its robust Web3 ecosystem, boasting over 700 Web3 companies, makes it a natural fit for such a vision. Data indicates that 25% of surveyed Singaporeans view crypto as the future of finance, and 32% have or have had some form of crypto asset ownership. This aligns perfectly with our mission and our vision for the region."

See also: MAS requires DPTSPs to safekeep customers assets under statutory trust, proposes lending and staking restrictions

Founded in the US in 2012, Coinbase has over 100 million verified users globally and is regarded as one of the top few crypto exchanges by market share. With the collapse of FTX, and regulatory scandals shrouding Binance, exchanges operating in Singapore have seen increased pressure to adhere to regulations set by the MAS. 

In July, the MAS announced new requirements for DPT service providers to safekeep customer assets under a statutory trust before the end of the year in order to mitigate the risk of loss or misuse of customers’ assets. It will also restrict DPT service providers from facilitating lending and staking of DPT tokens by their retail customers. However, DPT service providers may continue to facilitate such activities for their institutional and accredited investors.

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