South Korean exchange Upbit gets initial license nod from Singapore

    2023.10.16 | exchangesranking | 1112onlookers

    The Singapore entity for Upbit, South Korea’s largest exchange by volume, has been given in-principal approval for a Major Payment Institution (MPI) license in Singapore.

    On Oct. 16, Upbit Singapore said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) gave the in-principle license nod, allowing it to continue with digital payment token services to institutional investors while awaiting its full license.

    Upbit Singapore’s chief operating officer Raks Sondhi told Cointelegraph that with the approval, the firm “will gradually come out of stealth mode."

    “We have been here and operating in Singapore since 2018. We have been building out the team,” Sondhi said, adding it had made additional hires since April.

    The Upbit Singapore team, pictured in the city’s downtown area. Source: Upbit Singapore

    “Our primary business has been on the digital asset exchange business, we will continue to build that out but also focus on the institutional segment and infrastructure projects,” said Sondhi. “There are also some other market segments we believe we can work well within."

    Azman Hamid, the firm’s compliance chief, said the approval reflects its commitment to building its businesses in Singapore. “We will contribute to further establish Singapore as the leading hub for the next generation of financial businesses,” he added.

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    A potential full approval for Upbit would see the exchange join a total of 15 crypto firms with full MPI digital payment token serve licenses from MAS.

    In October alone, the Singaporean entities for Coinbase, Ripple and Sygnum Bank all received license approvals from MAS — pushing the number of MAS-licensed digital payment token service firms to 15.

    On Oct. 2,  Coinbase received full approval for its MPI license, with crypto trading firm GSR scoring in-principal approval for its MPI the same day. Swiss crypto bank subsidiary Sygnum Singapore scored its full MPI license a day later and Ripple received its full MPI on Oct. 4.

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    Update (Oct. 16, 3:40 am UTC): This article has been updated to add comments from Upbit Singapore’s operating chief Raks Sondhi.

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