Binance, the most-used cryptocurrency exchange in the world, is testing a fiat currency exchange in Singapore, according to CEO Zhao Changpeng.
He made the comment at a blockchain event in Singapore, then announced it on his Twitter profile.
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— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) September 15, 2018
Specifically, the exchange will open in beta – meaning invite-only users within a closed testing environment – on the 18th of September.
No further details have yet been released, but it is fair to assume that the Singapore dollar will be available.
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Singapore and cryptocurrency
Singapore, a city-state with a population of around 5 million, is one of the ‘Four Asian Tigers’, meaning a country that has demonstrated dramatic economic growth. It has presented itself as an attractive location for multi-national businesses, for example by maintaining low taxes. The World Bank classified it (as of June 2017) as second in its ‘ease of doing business’ ranking (first place was New Zealand, third Denmark).
Cryptocurrency, however, is not considered legal tender. According to local law firm Colin Ng & Partners, cryptocurrency exchanges are not recognised/approved as monetary exchanges by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, but can operate as long as they comply with AML and CFT requirements.
In May, the Monetary Authority of Singapore shut down one company’s initial coin offering and warned eight cryptocurrency exchanges not to sell financial derivatives without its permission, even if they are denominated in cryptocurrency. A spokesman said at the time that no safeguards were in place for the public.
Nonetheless, the state was granted that sought-after title of ‘hub’ in some market research conducted by an American accounting corporation in June. Singapore is popular with blockchain companies because it is a technologically advanced and highly connected country in the heart of Asia.
Examples of cryptocurrency business in Singapore include Bitbox, a cryptocurrency exchange opened by Line Corporation of Tokyo, the company behind Japan’s version of Whatsapp. It has traded $53.5 million worth of cryptocurrency in the last 24 hours, according to its website. And Bitcoin banknotes, a novel product released by a local firm in May.
For Binance, which handled $815 million in trades in the last 24 hours according to coinmarketcap.com, this will probably be taken in stride; over the last year or so it has opened up in Liechtenstein, South Korea, and Malta, and Jersey.