Binance, the cryptocurrency company that has investments in some of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world - including India's WazirX - has withdrawn its application to launch a cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore. But that doesn't mean the company is leaving the country entirely.
According to the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, its Singapore arm - binance.sg - will close by February 13, 2022. Investors have until deadline to withdraw their funds. After that, their accounts will be suspended and they will no longer be able to access them.
"Our priority is to help our users in Singapore transfer their holdings to other wallets or other third party services," Binance Singapore chief executive Richard Teng told Forbes.
Binance launched in Singapore in 2019, and the company did not disclose the number of active users or the estimated funds managed on the local platform.
The decision was not made lightly, and we apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.
Binance was not making headway with Singapore regulators
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) had received more than 480 license applications for cryptocurrency services under the country's Payment Services Act (PSA), which went into effect on January 28, earlier this year.
Over the next month, Binance saw its daily active users (DAUs) triple as international cryptocurrency exchanges consolidated their lead over domestic counterparts like Coinhako, according to data collected by Statista. Out of 480, Binance's demand was among 170 asking to provide digital payment token (DPT) services in the city-state.
While the application was under review, Binance Singapore had received a temporary exemption from the regulatory body to operate in the country. It issues a license called the Recognized Market Operator (RMO), which makes it possible for businesses to operate cryptocurrency exchanges within Singapore.
However, six months later, Binance's plans to launch a Singapore-specific cryptocurrency exchange are still stuck in limbo. According to the Business Times, the cryptocurrency firm was not making any headway with the country's regulators.
In September, MAS had asked Binance to stop providing payment services and establish a separate entity to continue operations in the country.
This does not mean that Binance is leaving Singapore
Earlier this month, Binance invested in Singapore-based Hg Exchange, acquiring an 18% stake in the company.
“Cryptocurrencies and traditional financial offerings continue to converge. Through this investment, we seek to work with HGX to improve the offering of products and services supported by blockchain technology, ”Teng said in a blog post at the time. "We aim to work collaboratively with HGX to improve the blockchain ecosystem in Singapore."
While Binance complied with the MAS order in September, it appears the company is giving up the country completely now, at least as far as the cryptocurrency exchange is concerned. However, it appears that Binance will ostensibly use Singapore as an innovation hub, funding and supporting programs and efforts in blockchain education.
With the decision to close operations, Binance Singapore users will receive emails with directions on what to do with their account. The company will also stop accepting new registrations, cryptocurrencies and deposits, and the platform will close completely by February 13.