Crypto exchange platform Binance has announced that it will cease operations in Singapore, following warnings from regulators.
On Thursday, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued a statement stating that the operations of Binance.com (the international version and main exchange) in the country were in breach of the Payment Services Act.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which is the country’s central bank that supervises the cryptocurrency sector in the country, said it required Binance.com to stop providing payments to Singapore residents and to “cease soliciting such business from Singapore residents.” The financial watchdog went further to list Binance on its Investor Alert list, serving to warn consumers that the company is not authorized to provide any payment services in Singapore.
According to a publication released by Binance, Singaporeans will no longer be able to trade cryptocurrencies or receive payments denominated in the Singapore dollar (SGD) from the 10th of September. Customers were advised to complete all peer-to-peer trades 24 hours in advance of the deadline, to avoid potential trading disputes. The Binance app will also be removed from the Singapore iOS and Google Play stores.
Binance, in its publication, stated that “our aim is to create a sustainable ecosystem around blockchain technology and digital assets. Binance welcomes developments to our industry’s regulatory framework as they pose opportunities for the market players to have greater collaboration with the regulators. We are committed to working constructively in policy-making that seeks to benefit every user.”
The restriction will only apply to Binance’s global platform and not its Singapore platform which Changpeng Zhao, the company’s Chief Executive Officer has urged users to switch to.
In recent months, Binance has been the target of regulatory backlash from regulators all over the world including those in the U.K, Netherlands, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Germany, Hong Kong, Lithuania, and South Africa.
In April, German regulators mentioned that the exchange risked being fined for offering tokens connected to stock. In May, Binance was under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service. In June, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) banned Binance from undertaking any regulated activity in the country. Japan’s financial regulator also warned that Binance was operating in the country illegally. In July, Thailand’s Securities and Futures Commission filed a criminal complaint against Binance on claims that it was operating a digital asset business without a license.
As a result, global financial regulators have taken serious actions to restrict the activities of crypto exchanges like Binance. Financial watchdogs in South Africa and Singapore are the latest regulators to warn its citizens that Binance is not authorized to operate in the country.
Binance has said that it plans to strengthen relations with regulatory and law enforcement bodies. Last month, as part of its attempt to comply with global watchdogs, and restructure itself as a regulated financial firm, Binance hired Greg Monahan – a former US Treasury Criminal Investigator, as its new Global Money Laundering Reporting Officer.
Meanwhile, the company continues to face scrutiny from global regulators. The exchange platform also employed Richard Teng and Leigh Travers as CEOs of its Binance Singapore and Australia subsidiaries, as part of its efforts of building a relationship with regulators and restoring its lost glory.