Australian cryptocurrency exchange Independent Reserve said Monday that it had received an “in-principle approval” for a Major Payment Institution License in Singapore to operate as a regulated digital payment token (DPT) service provider, according to a company statement.

Fast facts

  • Founded in Australia in 2013, Independent Reserve set up its first overseas operations in Singapore in 2019 to provide crypto exchange and over-the-counter trading services.
  • “To be one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges to be notified by MAS of our in-principle licencing approval is a reflection of the robustness of the policies, procedures and risk management systems that we have put in place to guide our day-to-day operations,” said Adrian Przelozny, CEO of Independent Reserve, in a statement. “It provides certainty for us as industry participants and security for our customers, knowing that their chosen platform has passed the scrutiny of a world-class regulator. The granting of Digital Payment Token licences by MAS will continue to put Singapore in pole position as the leading financial hub in Asia.”
  • “In the interest of promoting consumer safety in the digital assets industry, areas of particular interest to MAS throughout the application process included customer protection mechanisms, transaction screening, robustness of IT services, compliance structures, and AML/CFT processes,” the company said. “To achieve the licence, [virtual asset service providers] were required to put controls in place to ensure proper due diligence, suitable solicitation, and adequate risk disclosure.”
  • Under Singapore’s Payment Services Act (PSA) that came into effect in January 2020, providers of digital token payment services — which includes cryptocurrency exchanges — must be licensed. The PSA provides for the licensing and regulation of payment service providers and the oversight of payment systems to ensure compliance with anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements and controls to mitigate technology risks, among others.
  • MAS had said last week that it was in the final stages of reviewing several DPT service provider license applications. According to MAS, around 170 applicants have applied to provide DPT services. No crypto license has been granted to date and DPT service providers have been operating with an exemption from holding a licence under the PSA. This approval brings Independent Reserve a step closer to receiving a license.
  • MAS has recently notified several applicants that it is prepared to grant them payment services licenses under the Payment Services Act (“PS Act”). Applicants like Independent Reserve that have received such notifications from MAS do not yet hold payment services licences, but MAS spokeperson told Forkast.News that “a licence will be subsequently granted to an applicant, provided it puts in place necessary measures to meet MAS’ requirements in order to operate as a licensee.”