2021 was a huge year for crypto. Bitcoin recorded an all-time high, rising above US$68,000 in early Nov 2021.
And prices of altcoins such as Ethereum, Solana, and Dogecoin have also surged dramatically with Bitcoin’s upward movement.
With cryptocurrency going mainstream worldwide, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has said there would be strong regulation of crypto firms in Singapore to set in place proper frameworks.
Official licences are hence highly coveted, and the latest firm to receive a nod from MAS is local crypto platform Coinhako.
It was just announced that they’ve received in-principle approval from MAS under the Payment Services Act (PSA) for Digital Payment Token (DPT) Services.
According to a media release, Coinhako was issued the in-principle approval on 16 Nov.
They are presently working towards meeting the MAS requirements to receive the licence as a major payment institution to provide DPT services in Singapore.
Yusho Liu, co-founder and CEO of Coinhako, said, “The regulation of DPTs under the Payment Services Act is a clear indication of Singapore’s readiness to nurture innovations in the digital assets and cryptocurrency space while balancing the need to protect consumer and social interests.”
He added that this would allow Singapore to grow as a crypto-financial hub and allow retail traders to better identify which institutions can meet their digital asset needs.
When a new industry goes mainstream like cryptocurrency, government authorities usually get involved in setting proper frameworks and controlling the uncertainty that comes with a rapidly emerging industry.
Having guidelines in place also allows users to get the best experiences. It provides regulations to ensure servicing companies abide by responsible practices—you have to follow their rules or face the consequences.
In Sep 2021, MAS ordered popular crypto exchange Binance.com to stop services in Singapore due to allegations of soliciting business from Singapore residents without an appropriate license.
This lesson seemed to have been learned well by other players in the industry.
In Singapore, digital payment tokens are described as “any cryptographically-secured digital representation of value that is used or intended to be used as a medium of exchange.”
In other words, DPTs include cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ether, and even ShibaInu, and Coinhako has now been given in-principle approval by MAS to provide services for these tokens.
It is also significant because Coinhako is the first local crypto exchange to be given such approval for DPTs.
Headquartered in Singapore since 2014, Coinhako claims to have over 150,000 active monthly users and have been functioning as a crypto exchange for a while now, so this official approval is welcome news.
Coinhako offers both fiat-to-crypto and crypto-to-crypto trading services with a digital wallet for traders to store their digital assets.
In the first 8 months of 2021, compared to the whole of 2020, they have seen a 1,000% increase in trading volume.
One of the unique features of Coinhako is how it allows users to trade their SGD for crypto without having to change it to USD first, like most platforms.
You can find out more about Coinhako here.
MAS giving approval to companies providing DPTs is a step in the right direction.
If Singapore is ever to be taken seriously as a hub for blockchain, NFTs, or other emerging technologies (hello Facebook’s metaverse), regulation has to catch up a lot faster.
For now, it’s great to see some progress.
This post was brought to you in collaboration with Coinhako.
Featured image adapted from TheSmartLocal and Google Maps.
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