OKX Granted In-Principle Approval for Singapore Licence

Key Takeaways:

Expansion into payment services: Obtaining the in-principle approval signals OKX’s intention to diversify its services beyond cryptocurrency trading. Payment licences enable companies to offer a broader range of financial services, including facilitating payments and money transfers, which could attract more users and increase revenue streams for OKX.

Compliance and regulatory approval: The approval suggests that OKX has met the stringent regulatory requirements of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Compliance with regulatory standards is crucial for building trust among users and ensuring the sustainability of the business in the long term. It also demonstrates OKX’s commitment to operating within the legal framework and upholding industry best practices.

Market positioning and competitive advantage: With the payment licence, OKX may differentiate itself from competitors by offering integrated cryptocurrency trading and payment services under one platform. This strategic move could help OKX capture a larger market share and strengthen its position as a leading cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore and potentially in the broader Southeast Asian region.

In a significant development for the cryptocurrency industry, OKX, one of the leading digital asset exchanges, has received in-principle approval for a payment institution licence in Singapore. 


According to a Major Payment Institution (MPI), companies can facilitate multiple payment services exceeding the volume limitations set for payment firms. This landmark decision marks a vital step forward for OKX and the broader cryptocurrency industry in gaining legitimacy and regulatory acceptance. This approval underscores Singapore’s progressive stance towards embracing digital currencies and fostering innovation within the fintech sector. It reflects the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) commitment to promoting a conducive regulatory environment while ensuring robust consumer protection measures. 

The country’s principal financial regulator, MAS, issued the MPI licence. The full licence from MAS means that OKX will be allowed to provide digital payment token services and cross-border transfers in the country. OKX president Hong Fang mentioned that Singapore attracts entrepreneurs who are venturing into new markets. Fang said, “Singapore was always a priority for the exchange regarding its global strategy. It’s a market of early adopters who are well-versed in technology.”

President Fang suggested that Singapore’s regulatory framework be clear and thoughtful, allowing for better long-term businesses to be built. Fang added, “OKX will work on bringing local banking connections to its customers and expand its offerings.” With the new milestone, Fang highlighted that the company would focus on its spot product in the country.  

Implications for OKX and the Cryptocurrency Industry

The in-principle approval for a payment institution licence is pivotal for OKX, positioning the exchange as a trusted and regulated entity within the Singaporean market. The approval comes after OKX secured a licence from Dubai’s crypto regulator on January 16 2024. OKX’s general manager for the Middle East and North Africa region, Rifad Mahasneh, revealed that the company is working to complete the requirements and expects the licence to be operational in a few months and available to retail and institutional users.

Mahasneh said, “Once operational, OKX Middle East will be allowed to offer regulated VASP services, including spot and fiat trading services, AED deposits and withdrawals, and spot trading pairs.” 

By obtaining this licence, OKX gains access to a broader range of financial services, including facilitating fiat currency transactions and offering payment solutions to customers. Moreover, this approval enhances OKX’s credibility and trustworthiness among investors and users. It demonstrates the exchange’s commitment to compliance and regulatory adherence, mitigating concerns regarding uncertainties often associated with the crypto industry. Furthermore, OKX’s success in obtaining a payment institution licence sets a positive precedent for other crypto exchanges and blockchain-based companies seeking regulatory approval. It highlights the growing acceptance of digital assets by traditional financial institutions and regulators, paving the way for greater mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies.

Future Outlook and Potential Impact

Looking ahead, OKX’s acquisition of a payment institution licence in Singapore opens new avenues for expansion and innovation. With regulatory clarity and oversight, the exchange can explore opportunities to launch innovative financial products and services tailored to the needs of its customers. Additionally, OKX’s presence in Singapore strengthens the city-state’s position as a global fintech and blockchain development hub. By attracting reputable crypto exchanges like OKX, Singapore solidifies its reputation as a forward-thinking jurisdiction that embraces technological innovation while upholding strict regulatory standards. 

The approval of OKX’s payment institution licence also bodes well for the broader crypto industry’s regulatory landscape. It demonstrates regulators’ willingness to engage with blockchain-based businesses and work towards establishing clear regulatory frameworks that balance innovation with investor protection. Apart from OKX, BitGo, a crypto custody business, received an in-principle approval from MAS. On January 10 2024, BitGo announced that it received the initial nod, subject to completing further requirements set by the regulator. 

 OKX’s in-principle approval for a payment institution licence in Singapore marks a significant milestone for the exchange and the cryptocurrency industry as a whole. It signals the maturation of the digital asset market and paves the way for greater institutional adoption and mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies. As OKX continues to expand its operations and services under regulatory oversight, it sets a positive example for other industry players. It reinforces Singapore’s position as a leading fintech hub in the global arena.

Fhumulani Lukoto Cryptocurrency Journalist

Fhumulani Lukoto holds a Bachelors Degree in Journalism enabling her to become the writer she is today. Her passion for cryptocurrency and bitcoin started in 2021 when she began producing content in the space. A naturally inquisitive person, she dove head first into all things crypto to gain the huge wealth of knowledge she has today. Based out of Gauteng, South Africa, Fhumulani is a core member of the content team at Coin Insider.

View all posts by Fhumulani Lukoto >

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