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Crypto exchange Coinbase gets Singapore payments licence

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By Rae Wee and Elizabeth Howcroft

(Reuters) -The Singapore arm of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase said on Monday it had obtained a Major Payment Institution (MPI) licence from the city-state’s central bank.

The licence, granted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), will allow the largest U.S. crypto exchange to offer digital payment token services to individuals and institutions in Singapore.

Coinbase, the world’s largest listed crypto exchange, was granted initial approval in October last year.

Singapore has emerged as a crypto hub in Asia in recent years, having attracted digital asset firms from countries including China and India. Coinbase said it is a “vital market” for the company, citing survey data saying 32% of Singaporeans own crypto or have done so in the past.

The MAS, which is Singapore’s central bank and financial regulator, said in a statement on its website last month that it only grants licenses to cryptocurrency firms if they have robust anti-money laundering controls and that “most applicants have not been successful”.

In August, the MAS said that it was planning to roll out regulations that will make it more difficult for retail investors to trade cryptocurrencies at a time when they seem to be “irrationally oblivious” about the risks involved.

(Reporting by Rae Wee in Singapore; Editing by Jamie Freed)

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