The Singapore-based arm of the United States cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has received “in-principle approval” to provide crypto services in Singapore from its central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
Speaking to Cointelegraph, Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Coinbase Singapore and the exchanges’ regional director for Southeast Asia, said Singapore is a key institutional market for the exchange in Asia due to businesses there continuing to show interest in and gain exposure to crypto.
The city-state also serves as Coinbase’s Asia-Pacific tech hub, with an on-the-ground team of engineers responsible for its international expansion efforts and platform localization, said Ahmed.
Coinbase was already providing services including its institutional platform under an exemption granted by MAS, but Ahmed said it would look to partner with local platforms and expand its fiat capabilities with its new approval to provide Digital Payment Token services.
The exchange says it’s undertaking ongoing work with local Web3 community groups such as the Association of Crypto Currency Enterprises and Start-ups Singapore (ACCESS) and the Singapore Fintech Association (SFA).
Ahmed says it’s working with the local industry in Singapore to ensure fair laws from regulators and provide information to a youth-focused nonprofit, Advisory.sg.
“We collaborate with industry associations to promote dialogue with policymakers, and ensure balanced regulations, and a pragmatic approach to regulatory framework for digital assets,” said Ahmed, adding:
“On the employment side, crypto as an industry is exciting but often confusing, so we are working with career exploration non-profits like advisory.sg to provide guidance to their members.”
Coinbase has seen an interest in expanding through the Asia-Pacific region, with a local entity in Japan since August 2021 and an Oct. 5 expansion of its retail-focused services in Australia.
Ahmed said of Coinbase’s plans to offer services throughout Southeast Asia:
“We see Southeast Asia as a crypto-forward region with a lot of demand for holding and using crypto in markets such as the Philippines and Indonesia, as well as a hotbed of innovation for trends like Web3 gaming such as Vietnam.”
Coinbase’s vice president of international and business development Nana Murugesan previously said to Cointelegraph that the exchange would focus “more towards markets that have [regulatory] clarity” when planning to expand further into Asia.