Crypto exchange Blockchain.com has become the latest crypto company to secure preliminary approval from Singapore’s central bank to provide Digital Payment Token services in the city-state.
Blockchain.com’s regulatory approval follows hot on the heels of Coinbase, which revealed it had received the same “in-principle” approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Oct. 11.
If officially approved, Blockchain.com would join the likes of companies already licensed for digital Payment Token services including crypto exchanges DBS Vickers and Independent Reserve, digital payment solution provider FOMO Pay, and crypto-friendly payments application Revolut, among others.
Blockchain.com CEO and co-founder Peter Smith commended the country’s regulators for creating a “transparent regulatory process” to foster innovation, stating:
“Blockchain.com commends the Monetary Authority of Singapore on its transparent regulatory process that prioritizes crypto industry oversight while allowing innovation to thrive.”
It is not the first company to make a positive reference to the straightforward regulatory environment in Singapore for crypto companies.
Recently, digital asset platform Anchorage Digital co-founder and president Diogo Mónica pointed to Singapore’s strong regulatory environment and the emergence of a crypto hub as its motivation to choose the city-state as a “jump point” into the Asian markets.
Mónica also highlighted, in contrast, the lack of regulatory clarity in the United States as a major issue, suggesting that even if a company understands what rules govern an asset, it can be difficult to determine which of the 15 regulators they need to engage with.
In August 2021, crypto exchange Independent Reserve was one of the first of 170 global competitors to receive preliminary approval for the DPT license.
CEO Adrian Przelozny also made a positive reference to the transparency of Singapore’s regulatory environment, noting at the time:
“A well-regulated environment will benefit both investors and crypto industry stakeholders. With tailormade rules for the crypto industry, Singapore currently has the clearest and most detailed licencing requirements of any jurisdiction in Asia”
Przelozny suggested the license grants “will continue to put Singapore in pole position as the leading financial hub in Asia.”
China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) project has reached the mark of close to $14 billion, or 100.04 billion yuan, of made transactions during its pilot phase. It makes digital yuan, the e-CNY, the most widely adopted CBDC in the world.
As the Bank of China reported in the post on its official WeChat page on Oct. 10, by the end of the summer, the number of transactions made in 15 provinces within the CBDC pilot framework had reached 360 million. More than 5.6 million merchant stores already support the digital yuan as a legal tender, according to the post.
The pilot is expanding among some state institutions as well, covering a wide range of citizen payments:
“Multiple e-government service platforms have opened digital renminbi payment services, supporting online and offline channels to handle various public utility payments, using digital renminbi to issue tax rebate funds, special funds for monthly medical insurance payment, funds for helping people in need, and ‘specialized, special and new’ enterprise support funds, etc.”
The financial regulator shared its plans for the project development, which include launching the cross-border payments between Hong Kong and mainland China, actively exploring the multilateral cross-border option in collaboration with the Bank for International Settlement and following the principle of “anonymity for small amounts and traceability of large amounts” to protect the user’s personal data.
With its first CBDC trials launched in April 2020, China’s central bank has been aiming to eventually replace cash with the digital yuan. In September 2022, it shared plans to expand the deployment of the e-CNY to four of the country’s provinces, including Guangdong (earlier, the pilot ran only in separate cities).
Interestingly enough, the Bank of China reported about $13 billion (87.5 billion yuan) worth of transactions by January 2022 — with the fresh update, it could mean that in the last seven months, the overall amount of new transactions didn’t exceed $1 billion.
Announced in an Oct. 13 blog post by Offchain Labs, the deal’s financial terms were not disclosed, but it was noted Prysmatic Labs chose to join Offchain Labs “for many reasons,” but mainly because of the two companies’ alignment in their core beliefs.
Prysmatic Labs co-founder Raul Jordan said the move will “build a unified team stronger than the sum of its parts.”
“Merging with Offchain Labs made perfect sense to us as an Ethereum team because we develop software extensively in Go, are fully incentive-aligned with the success of Ethereum, and are focused on shipping quality software for others to use,” Jordan said.
Offchain Labs claims the future of Ethereum relies on layer 1 for consensus and data availability and layer 2 for execution and scalability, and its acquisition of Prysmatic Labs is a step toward combining experts in these two areas.
Despite the Prysmatic Labs team officially joining Offchain Labs, their “work will continue uninterrupted,” and their work in Ethereum node client software will continue to be developed under Offchain’s umbrella.
They are still developing Prysm as a fully open-source and neutral consensus client and bringing EIP-4844 data-sharding to production.
The post ends by teasing possible future collaborations between the two teams.
“There are several other joint initiatives that we plan to work on together, furthering both L1 and L2 development.”
Prysmatic Labs is one of the core engineering teams behind the Merge and built Prysm, the leading Ethereum consensus client that’s now powering Ethereum’s proof-of-stake consensus.
Offchain Labs is a venture-backed and Princeton-founded company developing Arbitrum, a suite of scaling technologies for Ethereum, with two live chains, Arbitrum One and Arbitrum Nova.
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