Singapore-based cryptocurrency trading platform Coinhako has received in-principle approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore for a digital payment token (DPT) service license — making it the first local native cryptocurrency exchange to announce that it is close to being granted the much-coveted license.

Fast facts

  • Coinhako is now working through the conditions of its in-principle approval with a view towards meeting MAS requirements, the company said in a media statement.
  • Launched in 2014, the Tim Draper-backed crypto exchange offers both fiat-to-crypto and crypto-to-crypto trading services with a digital wallet. Coinhako currently has over 300,000 registered users in Singapore and an average of 150,000 monthly active users, according to company data. Alongside the rise in interest in crypto this year, Coinhako saw a 1,000% increase in trading volume, compared to the whole of 2020. To tap the growing institutional interest in digital assets, Coinhako last month launched “Coinhako Privé,” a digital assets platform for high net worth individuals and institutions.
  • “Singapore has always been at the forefront of fintech innovation. The regulation of DPTs under the Payment Services Act is a clear indication of our nation’s readiness to nurture innovations in the digital assets and cryptocurrency space while balancing the need to protect consumer and social interests,” said Yusho Liu, Coinhako co-founder & CEO, in a statement. “This will not only add to the growth of Singapore as a crypto financial hub, but also allow retail traders and institutions to better identify which institutions are able to meet their digital asset needs.”
  • In Singapore, cryptocurrency exchanges are required to be licensed and supervised under the city-state’s Payment Services Act, primarily for money laundering and terrorism financing risks. 170 companies submitted applications for a DPT license, and the MAS has to date granted licenses to FOMO Pay, a Singapore-based payments fintech, DBS Vickers, the brokerage arm of DBS Bank, and Independent Reserve, an Australian cryptocurrency exchange. In compliance with the MAS regulatory regime, major cryptocurrency exchanges and Huobi Global have announced they are ceasing or restricting support on their global platforms for Singapore residents, and Singapore users will need to use a dedicated Singapore site for their cryptocurrency trading.

See related article: How Singapore is looking at Web 3.0 and DeFi as it prepares for a digital Singapore dollar