Ripple gets in-principle nod for digital asset services in Singapore

Blockchain-based payments firm Ripple has obtained in-principle regulatory approval from Singapore’s financial regulator to offer digital asset payments and token products in the city-state.

Ripple confirmed the approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in a June 22 statement. The approval will allow its subsidiary — Ripple Markets Asia Pacific — to further scale its On-Demand Liquidity (ODL). The ODL helps Ripple’s customers to move XRP around the world without the banks intervening as intermediaries.

The firm applied for the institutional payment license under Singapore’s Payment Service Act.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse praised the Singaporean regulator for its “pragmatic, innovation-first approach” to cryptocurrency-related services, adding that the country will provide a “prominent gateway” for Ripple’s business operations in the Asia Pacific region.

Ripple’s chief legal officer, Stu Alderoty also noted that Singapore’s “early leadership” is paving the way for other regulators looking to develop a “clear taxonomy and licensing framework.”

Alderoty explained that the approval expands upon Ripple’s customer reach.

“This in-principle regulatory approval from the MAS will enable us to better support our forward-thinking customers looking to hone in on blockchain and crypto technologies to build a more inclusive and borderless financial system.”

In 2022, Ripple managed to double the number of employees in its Asia Pacific headquarters as its Singapore base experienced a majority share of ODL transactions flowing through the city-state.

The MAS released its own Purpose Bound Money white paper on June 21, which proposes standards for fintech firms providing digital money services in Singapore:

While Ripple’s path to compliance with Singapore came without much in the way of legal barriers, this hasn’t been the case elsewhere.

Ripple’s legal team has had their hands tied with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission since December 2020 after the regulator sued them for allegedly offering XRP — the token that powers the XRP Ledger — as an unregistered security.

A ruling is set to be made on the high-profile case in the coming months, according to Garlinghouse.

Related: Ripple vs. SEC: Could newly released documents tip the balance?

On June 15, Ripple partnered with Colombia’s central bank, Banco de la República to pilot a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) on its XRP Ledger.

The firm has also partnered with central banks in Montenegro and Thailand in addition to many other regional banks and financial institutions around the world.

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