SINGAPORE, Sept 4 — Cryptocurrency exchange platform Binance.com was placed on the Investor Alert List of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Thursday (September2), after the authority found it to be offering payment services and soliciting business from customers here without a proper licence.
Consumers in Singapore should thus be warned that Binance is not regulated or licensed here to provide these services and the company is now required to stop doing so for Singapore residents.
It is also barred from soliciting such business from consumers here, MAS said in a statement.
The authority said that it has reviewed the operations of Binance, which operates Binance.com, and believes that the company is in breach of the Payment Services Act.
The Act oversees the licensing and regulation of payment service providers.
Founded in 2017, Binance is the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange.
It is an online centralised exchange that offers users a range of financial products and services, including buying and trading a wide range of digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as digital wallets, futures, securities and savings accounts, among others.
Its chief executive officer Changpeng Zhao said in July this year that the company is seeking a listing in the United States stock exchange.
The crypto billionaire made it as a new entrant in the Forbes’ Singapore Rich List last month.
The 45-year-old Chinese-Canadian, who has been based in Singapore since 2019, was ranked 22 among 50, with a net worth of US$1.9 billion (S$2.55 billion).
In recent months, though, Binance has come under scrutiny from regulators worldwide, including in Britain, Germany, Japan and Malaysia.
A subsidiary of Binance
In the meantime, Binance Asia Services, the Singapore arm of Binance, has submitted a licence application under the Payment Services Act, MAS said.
It is a separate legal entity from Binance and operates Binance.sg.
Right now, Binance Asia Services is exempted from holding a licence to provide digital payment token services under the transitional arrangements under the Act.
The exemption applies to companies that were carrying out regulated business before the Act came into force on Jan 28 last year, and allows them to continue providing their services while their licence applications are being processed.
“MAS has been engaging Binance Asia Services and expects (it) to immediately begin an orderly suspension of its facilitation of transfers of digital payment token assets between (itself) and Binance.
“Binance Asia Services will inform its customers of the appropriate arrangements as soon as practicable.”
The company’s license application remains under review and is subjected to whether it is able to meet the requirements under the Act, MAS added. — TODAY