Temasek's Vertex invests in crypto exchange

DUBAI • Vertex Ventures, the venture capital arm of Temasek, said it has invested in Binance to develop a fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore.

The amount invested by the state investment firm was not disclosed. Binance, one of the world's biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, primarily handles trades between digital tokens.

The funding, which is a joint investment between Vertex Ventures China and Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia & India, will also support other fiat-to-crypto gateways and services throughout South-east Asia, according to a statement.

For Vertex, the oldest venture capital firm in South-east Asia, investing in the crypto market is a nod to a relatively new industry that is starting to attract institutional money.

Goldman Sachs Group and billionaire bitcoin champion Mike Novogratz's Galaxy Digital Ventures recently invested in BitGo Holdings, a cryptocurrency custodian start-up.

Binance - a year-old company that has had run-ins with the authorities in Japan, Hong Kong and, most recently, New York - plans to allow users to swop cryptocurrencies for Singapore dollars.

As more established names in the financial industry leap further in the market, questions about market stability and regulation uncertainty remain.

Bitcoin has lost 67 per cent of its value since its late December high at almost US$20,000.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2018, with the headline 'Temasek's Vertex invests in crypto exchange'. Print Edition | Subscribe