The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has given in-principle approval to three Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs), including Crypto.com, bringing the total number of legal players in the country to around 14.
Reports confirmed on Wednesday that cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com, digital currency broker Genesis, and digital asset trading platform Sparrow have received approvals.
Chris Marszalek, chief executive and co-founder of Crypto.com, said in a company release: “MAS sets a high regulatory bar that cultivates innovation while protecting consumers, and their in-principle acceptance of our application is reliable and secure. Reflects the platform that we have worked diligently to create.”
The development comes in the backdrop of weakness of the broader crypto market and stringent regulatory regulations for retail traders in Singapore.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keet said, “Cryptocurrency assets have been in the limelight lately for the wrong reasons. However, this does not reflect where blockchain and digital assets have the greatest value, much of which is far from the retail glut. “
Earlier in January, MAS issued guidelines to discourage cryptocurrency trading by the general public.
“MAS has consistently warned that trading DPTs is highly risky and not suitable for the general public, as DPT prices are subject to sharp speculative swings,” the regulator said.
That said, Singapore aims to be a crypto front runner in the ‘medium term’ while overseeing the virtual asset sector. And with the popularity that Dubai has gained as a crypto destination over time, the nation-state does not disappoint.
MAS. For ‘Blockchain on Bitcoin’
MAS Alvinder Singh had earlier said that “To think that we want to be a crypto hub like some countries that have oil and all that, overnight, no. That is not our objective at all. It is a medium term. The aim is, to do it responsibly, to feel your way around the sand.”
Furthermore, a recent statement by Heng Swee Keet states that the Asian country is looking to explore the blockchain space, beyond just crypto assets. “We can discover a lot by using blockchain technology to improve the efficiency, accessibility and affordability of cross-border transactions,” the official said.
Earlier, he also commented that Singapore “looks forward to working with blockchain and digital asset players to encourage innovation and build trust in the sector.”
That said, MAS announced the launch of Project Guardian last month. “Project Guardian will test the viability of applications in asset tokenization and DeFi while managing risks to financial stability and integrity,” the regulator had said.
Meanwhile, the watchdog partnered with DBS Bank Ltd, JP Morgan and Marketnode to launch a pilot for the project and test a licensed liquidity pool containing tokenized bonds and deposits.