Leading U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has obtained a Major Payment Institution (MPI) license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), marking a significant move in its global expansion efforts. This development comes amidst increasing regulatory scrutiny of cryptocurrency firms in the United States, prompting companies like Coinbase to seek opportunities abroad.
Coinbase’s Expansion in Singapore
On October 1, Coinbase announced the successful acquisition of an MPI license from the MAS, further demonstrating its commitment to the Singaporean market. This license will enable Coinbase to expand its offerings of Digital Payment Token services to both individuals and institutions in Singapore.
The company emphasized the importance of clear regulation, innovation, and user trust as driving factors behind its international expansion efforts. Singapore, known for its progressive economic strategies and regulatory approach, has become a key market for Coinbase’s global mission and objectives.
Singapore’s Significance in the Crypto Economy
Singapore has emerged as a pivotal market for the growth of the cryptocurrency and web3 economy, housing over 700 web3 companies. Coinbase recognizes the nation’s alignment with its goals and has tailored its products and services accordingly. Some offerings specific to the Singaporean market include PayNow/FAST transfers, SingPass onboarding, and no-fee USDC purchases.
Beyond product offerings, Coinbase is committed to fostering Singapore’s crypto ecosystem through various initiatives, including hiring, investments, partnerships, community events, and educational workshops at universities. The company has already collaborated with key local partners such as Nansen, Blockdaemon, and Infura, with more partnerships in the pipeline.
Coinbase’s International Growth Strategy
Securing regulatory licenses in key countries has been a priority for Coinbase as it expands its global presence. Over the past year, the company has achieved virtual asset registrations in several European countries, including Spain, Italy, Ireland, and the Netherlands.
Challenges in the United States
Coinbase’s expansion abroad comes as it faces regulatory challenges in the United States. In June, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against Coinbase, alleging that the company had operated as an unregistered securities broker since 2019. In response, Coinbase sought to have the case dismissed, arguing that it does not offer securities or investment contracts.
Singapore’s Regulatory Outlook
While Singapore has positioned itself as a crypto-friendly jurisdiction, there is uncertainty regarding its future regulatory stance. The recently elected president, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, has expressed a critical view of digital assets. As such, it remains to be seen whether Singapore’s crypto-friendly environment will endure or if regulatory changes may impact the industry in the future.
Coinbase’s acquisition of the MPI license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore reflects its determination to expand globally and tap into markets with favorable regulatory environments. As the cryptocurrency industry faces increased scrutiny in its home country, Coinbase and other firms are exploring opportunities abroad to ensure their continued growth and innovation in the evolving digital financial landscape.