By Joanna Ossinger and Chanyaporn Chanjaroen
(Bloomberg) — Singapore granted licenses to the brokerage arm of DBS Bank Ltd. and Australian cryptocurrency exchange Independent Reserve to offer digital payment token services, building on the city-state’s status as a crypto hub.
DBS Vickers received formal approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore to provide digital payment token services as a major payment institution, it said in a statement on Friday. Australia’s Independent Reserve also received the same license, it said in a separate statement.
The two firms add to Singapore’s expanding activities in cryptocurrency as the island ramps up integrated financial services for Bitcoin and other major digital assets such as trading, listing, tokenisation and custody. The approval for Southeast Asia’s largest lender is seen as key to show how the MAS will regulate the sector that’s seen as risky and open to money laundering.
The license will enable DBS Vickers, as a member of DBS Digital Exchange, to directly support asset managers and companies to trade in digital payment tokens through DDEx.
The approval “coupled with recent enhancements to DDEx such as round the-clock operations since August, could add to DDEx’s volumes in the coming months and accelerate growth momentum for DBS’ digital asset ecosystem,” DBS’s head of capital markets Eng-Kwok Seat Moey, who also chairs the exchange, said in the statement.
DBS’s digital exchange, introduced in December, expects to double the number of participants to 1,000 and to grow its base by 20%-30% annually for the next three years. The exchange is for institutional investors and qualified individuals, including clients of its DBS Vickers securities unit and its private bank. It offers exchange services between Singapore, U.S. and Hong Kong dollars, as well as the yen, and Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin cash and XRP.
Independent Reserve, which was founded in Australia in 2013, set up its first overseas operations in Singapore in 2019 to provide digital asset exchange and over-the-counter trading services to people and institutions. It provides U.S. dollar, Singapore dollar, Australian dollar and New Zealand dollar fiat-to-crypto trading pairs.
© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.