Circle, the issuer of the USDC stablecoin, is expanding its presence in the Asian market with a new license to operate in Singapore.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s central bank, has granted the company’s Singapore division, affiliated with Circle Internet Financial, a Major Payment Institution (MPI) license.
Having obtained the MPI license, Circle Singapore can provide various services, including digital payment token services, cross-border and domestic money transfers within Singapore. Moreover, institutional customers will now have the opportunity to utilize the Circle Account, enabling them to leverage USDC, the world’s second-largest stablecoin.
License issuance is regarded as a major development for the cryptocurrency industry in Singapore and the greater Asian region. Circle highlighted the milestone as a step forward for regulated and trusted dollar digital currencies in the area.
Jeremy Allaire, co-founder and CEO of Circle, emphasized the importance of Singapore in the company’s global expansion and its mission to promote global economic prosperity.
Dante Disparte, Circle’s chief strategy officer and head of Global Policy, commented that the MPI license demonstrates the company’s ongoing commitment to collaborating with progressive leaders and stakeholders worldwide.
Singapore embraces crypto amidst US scrutiny
Despite facing criticism and increased scrutiny due to the FTX scandal involving Sam Bankman-Fried, Singapore remains a global hotspot for web3 businesses.
To prevent a banking crisis similar to the one in the US, the country’s central bank and police unveiled plans in April to establish a framework facilitating easier access for traditional financial institutions to potential crypto business partners.
Last year, MAS proposed regulations for stablecoins that included capital and reserve requirements for issuers. The regulations also aimed to restrict users from engaging in activities like lending and staking, which involve locking crypto assets to earn interest.
As the US intensifies its scrutiny of the cryptocurrency industry, Circle is among the major crypto firms pivoting towards Asia. This week, the SEC filed lawsuits against Binance and Coinbase, two prominent industry players.
Recent reports suggest that crypto assets held by entities also leave the United States, indicating a growing divergence as more assets moved to Asia over the past year in response to the continued crackdown in America.