Ripple Granted In-Principle Payments License in Singapore, Boosting Crypto Industry Amid US Regulatory Pressure

June 26, 2023

By Anjali Kochhar

In a significant development for the global cryptocurrency industry, blockchain firm Ripple announced on Thursday that it has received in-principle regulatory approval to operate in Singapore. This comes as welcome news for Ripple and the broader crypto community, which has been grappling with increasing regulatory scrutiny in the United States. The approval was granted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the country’s central bank, in the form of a Major Payment Institution License.

The license obtained by Ripple enables the company to offer regulated digital payment token products and services, with a particular focus on expanding the cross-border transfers of XRP. XRP is a cryptocurrency closely associated with Ripple and is utilised by banks and financial institutions for various transactions. At the time of the announcement, XRP was trading at around 50 cents.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Ripple is primarily recognised for its XRP cryptocurrency and blockchain-based interbank messaging services. Through its on-demand liquidity service, Ripple employs XRP as a “bridge” between currencies, facilitating faster cross-border transactions for payment providers and banks compared to traditional payment systems. Additionally, Ripple operates RippleNet, a blockchain-powered international messaging system, which facilitates large-scale fund transfers between financial institutions, similar to the widely used SWIFT network.

It is worth noting that Ripple, along with co-founder Christian Larsen and CEO Brad Garlinghouse, has been embroiled in a legal battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC has accused Ripple of conducting an illegal security offering that raised over $1.3 billion through XRP sales. However, Ripple vehemently denies these allegations, asserting that XRP should be classified as a currency rather than a security subject to stringent regulations.

Singapore holds strategic importance for Ripple, serving as a crucial currency corridor for the company’s cross-border transactions using XRP. Ripple’s regional Asia-Pacific headquarters are based in Singapore, where a significant majority of its global on-demand liquidity transactions flow through. Over the past year, Ripple has doubled its workforce in Singapore, bolstering key functions such as business development, compliance, and finance. The company plans to further expand its presence in the region.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s financial regulator, has not yet provided comments on Ripple’s approval. Singapore has gained a reputation as a fintech and crypto-friendly jurisdiction, attracting major players in the industry, including domestic banking giant DBS, British fintech firm Revolut, and Singapore-based crypto exchange

Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse is scheduled to speak at the Point Zero Forum in Zurich, Switzerland, where he will discuss the resurgence of innovation in digital assets through investment and thoughtful regulation. This announcement follows Ripple’s recent acquisition of Metaco, a crypto custody services firm, in a bid to expand its presence in the Swiss market and diversify away from its home in the United States. Garlinghouse stated that Ripple expects to spend over $200 million in legal fees by the conclusion of its legal battle with the SEC.

As Ripple secures regulatory approval in Singapore, it demonstrates the growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies in the global financial landscape. Despite the challenges faced by the industry, this positive development opens up new opportunities for Ripple and reaffirms Singapore’s position as a cryptocurrency hub in the Asia-Pacific region.

About the author

Anjali Kochhar covers cryptocurrency stories in India as well as globally. Having been in the field of media and journalism for over three years now, she has developed a sharp news sense and works hard to present information that goes beyond the obvious. She is an avid reader and loves writing on a wide range of subjects.

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