San Francisco-based Ripple Labs has been granted provisional regulatory approval by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to operate and expand its digital asset products and services in the city-state. The in-principle approval from the country’s central bank was granted to Ripple’s local subsidiary, Ripple Markets Asia Pacific, and sets the stage for Ripple to enhance the cross-border transfers of its associated cryptocurrency, XRP.
What a provisional license means for Ripple
Over the past year, Ripple has witnessed significant growth in its Singapore operations. The company reported that most of its global On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) transactions flow through the city-state, leading to a doubling of the employee headcount in its Asia Pacific headquarters.
Notably, Ripple’s ODL service, which leverages XRP as an intermediary, was designed to foster efficient international transfers, aiming to provide a faster alternative to traditional payment mechanisms. RippleNet, another of the company’s services, employs blockchain technology for interbank messaging, facilitating sizable transfers of funds between financial institutions.
Ripple’s Chief Executive Officer, Brad Garlinghouse, praised Singapore’s pragmatic approach to digital asset regulation, deeming the city-state a “prominent gateway” for Ripple’s business expansion in the Asia Pacific region. The approval underscores Ripple’s commitment to engaging with regulators globally, Garlinghouse stated in a press release.
The in-principle approval comes amidst Ripple’s ongoing legal battle with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), which started in December 2020 and recently took a turn in light of the “Hinman documents.” The SEC accuses Ripple of offering XRP as an unregistered security, an allegation that Ripple staunchly denies.
Ripple’s legal officer, Stu Alderoty, lauded Singapore’s regulatory clarity and foresight via Twitter, suggesting that this could serve as a guide for other regulators worldwide. He added, “This in-principle regulatory approval from the MAS will enable us to better support our forward-looking customers looking to hone in on blockchain and crypto technologies.”
Singapore, once known for its progressive regulation of digital assets, could offer a promising avenue for crypto companies facing tightening regulations in other jurisdictions, particularly the United States.
Other major companies, including Revolut and Crypto.com, have also benefitted from Singapore’s welcoming regulatory climate for fintech and crypto ventures. Although that climate may be changing, as evidenced by the city-state’s crypto crackdowns.
All in all, this move from Ripple marks another strategic step in the company’s global expansion plan following its recent $250 million acquisition of Swiss crypto custody firm, Metaco. Ripple surely aims to capitalize on the potential offered by the Asian and European markets as it navigates an uncertain regulatory landscape in its home country.
Editor’s note: This article was written by an nft now staff member in collaboration with OpenAI’s GPT-4.