Binance halts services in Singapore as regulatory noose tightens

Binance halts services in Singapore as regulatory noose tightens

Singapore has joined the growing list of jurisdictions in which Binance is halting its services following regulatory scrutiny. The exchange, which appears to have flouted financial laws in dozens of countries, recently received a warning from Singapore’s central bank and has now heeded it and halted spot trading and fiat deposits.

Earlier this month, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) banned Binance.com from offering unlicensed payment services in Singapore. The MAS said that the exchange was in violation of the country’s Payment Services Act and had been operating without a license.

In response, Binance announced that it would cease Singaporean trading pairs and payment options. It would also remove its trading app from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store for Singaporean users.

Now, the exchange has also halted all regulated payment services in the Southeast Asian financial hub. Effective immediately, Binance will no longer offer fiat deposit services, digital currency spot trading or their purchase through fiat channels and liquid swap.

The exchange stated, “As the market leader, Binance constantly evaluates its product and service offerings. We will be restricting Singapore users in respect of the Regulated Payments Services in-line with our commitment to compliance.”

It requested all its Singaporean users to cease all related trades, withdraw their fiat assets and redeem their tokens by October 26 “to avoid potential trading disputes.”

The announcement didn’t detail whether the exchange will continue to offer all services via Binance.sg, its local subsidiary which is operated by Binance Asia Services. Previously, however, the subsidiary has distanced itself from the embattled global parent company, making it clear that it’s “a separate legal entity from Binance.com with its own local executive and management team.”

Rivals scoop Binance clients

Binance has been booted out of a number of countries, either fully or partially. However, the purge from Singapore is a bit more significant for a few reasons. For one, this is where CEO Changpeng Zhao, whom Dr. Craig Wright called out as a criminal months before the crackdown, resides.

Second, the exchange has been looking to tie itself up with the Singaporean government at a time when every other country is seemingly against it for some sense of protection. As CoinGeek reported, Binance was said to be seeking to raise funds from Vertex Ventures, a subsidiary of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek.

The latest debacle will see Binance lose several of its customers who have put up with its misdeeds for long enough. Singaporean paper Straits Times spoke to a number of traders who revealed that they have either withdrawn their assets from the exchange or plan to in the next few days.

“I will just move my assets to another exchange and there are many options available like KuCoin and Coinhako. I may incur some coin transfer fees but it won’t cost much,” one former Binance client told the paper.

He further revealed that he has no plans of opening an account with Binance.sg, which some had touted as most likely to happen if Binance.com gets kicked out of Singapore. The local subsidiary is an underdog which “does not have exposure to that many coins as the main platform,” the client said.

Another user told the paper that she withdrew her assets back in June when she heard that authorities were probing the exchange for its consistent regulatory violations. And with Singapore being served by several of the largest global exchanges, it could start a trend in which Binance loses a good chunk of its customers to its more compliant rivals.

For its part, Binance said it’s working to abide by Singaporean regulations (although it may be a bit too late for this). A spokesperson told the paper that the exchange has taken down its trading app from Play Store and App Store for Singaporeans. It’s also being strict on new signup verifications, especially in regards to country of residence.

Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups—afrom BitMEX to BinanceBitcoin.comBlockstreamShapeShiftCoinbaseRipple and 
Ethereum—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.

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