Coinhako receives licence to provide crypto payment services in S'pore

The licence allows Coinhako to provide payment services without being subject to specific thresholds. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Coinhako, a Singapore cryptocurrency platform, received official approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Friday (May 6) to formally operate as a regulated provider of digital payment token services under the Singapore Payment Services Act.

The Singapore startup was granted a major payment institution (MPI) licence, allowing it to provide payment services without being subject to specific thresholds.

Coinhako provides investors, including retail investors, an exchange on which to buy and sell multiple cryptocurrencies using various payment methods including bank transfers and credit cards.

It also offers a wallet which is designed to facilitate the storage, transaction and trading of a wide variety of cryptocurrencies for all Coinhako users.

Last year, Coinhako reported a total trading volume of approximately $7 billion, representing an increase of 1,200 per cent from the previous year. It also reported a 522 per cent year-over-year growth in account openings during the same period.

It is so far the fourth digital token services provider to receive the coveted MPI licence. Last year, Fomo Pay, Independent Reserve and Triple A were granted the licence.

Last month, two other crypto firms, Revolut and Luno, received in-principle approval (IPA) from MAS to operate fully regulated cryptocurrency services in Singapore, including providing digital payment token services to retail investors.

The two firms were the latest to receive IPA after several others were granted similar approvals since the start of this year.

The approvals have been granted despite MAS announcing regulations in January prohibiting crypto service providers from advertising their services to retail traders.

In Parliament last month, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS, said that as at April 5, the central bank has received 580 licence applications to provide services under the Payment Services Act since it came into effect on Jan 28, 2020.

Of these, 87 applications have been approved, 11 rejected, and 147 applications withdrawn after engagement with MAS.

Around 170 entities remain exempted from licensing, whose applications are pending reviews.

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