Crypto exchange Binance.sg to close by February after operator withdraws Singapore licence application
SINGAPORE: Binance Asia Services, the operator of Binance.sg, has withdrawn its application to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to operate a regulated cryptocurrency exchange in the country.
The decision was made "taking into account strategic, commercial and developmental considerations globally", Binance said in a news release on Monday (Dec 13).
With immediate effect, registrations, cryptocurrency and currency deposits and trading on Binance.sg will be closed, it said.
Binance.sg will wind down operations and close by Feb 13 next year. Users of the platform must close all open positions and withdraw their Singapore dollar and cryptocurrency assets by that date, it added.
"We always put our users first, so our decision to close Binance.sg was not taken lightly. Our immediate priority is to help our users in Singapore transition their holdings to other wallets or other third-party services," said Binance.sg CEO Richard Teng.
MAS said Binance Asia Services has provided a plan for orderly cessation of its regulated payment services.
"This will allow sufficient time for customers to seek alternative providers or, if they wish to, liquidate their holdings," a MAS spokesperson said in response to CNA's queries.
MAS noted that its approach to regulation seeks to "facilitate innovation while ensuring that adequate controls are in place to address key risks such as money laundering and terrorism financing".
"Applicants are able to withdraw their applications should they see fit, upon which those who are operating under exemption will be required to cease providing regulated payment services," it added.
The regulator had in September ordered Binance - a separate entity that operates another cryptocurrency exchange Binance.com - to stop providing payment services to users in Singapore.
It said then that Binance Asia Services' licence application to operate Binance.sg was under review.
Binance said at the time that MAS' order had "no direct impact" on Binance.sg services.
Founded by Chinese-Canadian entrepreneur Changpeng Zhao, Binance is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world by volume.
The company said it will refocus its Binance Asia Services operations in Singapore into a blockchain innovation hub to help develop the global blockchain ecosystem.