Cryptocurrency exchange platform Binance.com was placed on the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) Investor Alert List on Thursday (Sept 2).
The list flags companies that are not licensed by the MAS, but may have given investors the impression that they were sanctioned by the Singapore regulator.
As of Sept 2, the MAS website listed 699 companies, including those registered overseas, which may have been wrongly perceived to be regulated by MAS.
In recent months, Binance – the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume – has come under intense scrutiny from regulators worldwide including in Malaysia, Britain, the United States, Italy and Thailand.
Its UK arm, Binance Markets, was in June banned from doing regulated business in the country over concerns that it was not doing enough to prevent money laundering and other financial crimes on its platform. Japan’s financial regulator has also issued a notice warning that Binance was not registered to do business within the country.
Binance’s Singapore unit, Binance Asia Services, is a distinct entity and is not the operator of the Binance.com platform.
In June 2021, MAS said in its response to queries from The Straits Times that it is aware of the actions taken by other regulatory authorities against Binance and will follow up as appropriate with its local arm.
Binance Asia Services is currently exempted from holding a licence under Singapore’s Payment Services Act for the provision of digital payment token services as its licence application is being reviewed.
It runs the Binance.sg platform, which offers Singaporeans and residents here trading pairs in Bitcoin, Ethereum and Binance Coin. It also provides SGD deposit and withdrawal functionality via payments platform Xfers Direct.
Last month, Binance Singapore (Binance.sg) announced the appointment of MAS veteran Richard Teng as its new chief executive. Mr Teng was with MAS for 13 years and last served as its director of corporate finance. He was also chief regulatory officer at the Singapore Exchange.