Regulatory issues push Binance to pull plug on Singapore trading platform

Binance Singapore
Biance app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Following a push to obtain regulatory clearance that began last year, Binance Asia Services Ltd. has dropped its bid to operate a bourse in Singapore and will phase out operations by February 13th.

According to analysts, it’s possible that the Singapore exit will cool down speculation that the country would become Binance’s global headquarters.

In an emailed statement, Binance Asia said that it took a global view of strategic, commercial, and developmental factors into account before deciding to withdraw its Singapore application.

The group was one of approximately 170 firms that applied to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) for a license to provide cryptocurrency services over the last year or two.

“We always put our users first, so our decision to close was not taken lightly,” said Richard Teng, Chief Executive Officer of Binance Singapore. “Our immediate priority is to help our users in Singapore transition their holdings to other wallets or other third-party services.”

Users of Binance Singapore will be notified via email as to what measures they can take following this announcement.

According to a Business Times article, Binance Asia already indicated early this month that it might withdraw its application to operate in Singapore, as their application waited for regulatory approval. Even as smaller firms receive permits, Binance Asia has been on the sidelines, hoping to obtain the green light.

Reports imply that Binance is exploring possibilities for setting up its global headquarters in either Europe or the Middle East.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, who reportedly resides in Singapore, also owns a home in Dubai, which has been referred to as a “pro-crypto” location. It’s also reported that the headquarters may be built in France, where Binance is funding a EUR 100 million cryptocurrency and blockchain project.

“Ties to an established market like Singapore may reassure regulators elsewhere. Less welcome would be if Binance bought its way into a lighter-touch jurisdiction, where it could carry the imprimatur of a local licence without overhauling compliance, to continue pushing products around the world. As long as countries’ attitudes to crypto vary wildly, arbitrage will persist,” said the editorial board at The Financial Times.

Related article: Binance says it will restrict services in Singapore to please regulator

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