December 3, 2023

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse speaks at the CoinDesk 2022 Consensus Festival in Austin, Texas, U.S., Saturday, June 11, 2022.

Jordan von der Haar | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Blockchain firm Ripple said on Thursday it received regulatory approval in principle to operate in Singapore, a rare piece of good news for the global cryptocurrency industry as it faces tightening regulations at home in the United States.

Ripple said it has received in-principle approval for a major payments institution license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the central bank of Singapore.

The license will allow Ripple to offer regulated digital payment token products and services and expand cross-border transfers of XRP, a cryptocurrency closely associated with the company, whose customers include banks and financial institutions.

XRP was trading around 50 cents late Wednesday.

Ripple is a San Francisco-based fintech company known primarily for XRP and its interbank messaging service based on blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that underpins many cryptocurrencies.

The company’s on-demand liquidity service uses XRP as a kind of “bridge” between currencies, which it claims allows payment providers and banks to process cross-border transactions much faster than traditional payment rails.

But Ripple also operates a blockchain-based international messaging system called RippleNet to facilitate large transfers of funds between banks and other financial institutions, similar to SWIFT, the global interbank messaging system.

The SEC charged Ripple, co-founder Christian Larsen and CEO Brad Garlinghouse with an illegal securities offering that raised more than $1.3 billion through the sale of XRP.

Ripple has denied the SEC’s allegations, claiming that XRP is a currency and not a security subject to strict rules.

Singapore is one of the largest currency corridors from where Ripple uses XRP to send money across borders, the company said in a release.

Bitcoin will continue to be a

Most of Ripple’s global on-demand liquidity transactions flow through Singapore, which serves as the company’s Asia-Pacific headquarters, Ripple said.

In the past year, Ripple has doubled the number of employees in Singapore, covering key functions such as business development, compliance and finance, and plans to continue to expand its business in Singapore.

Singapore’s financial regulator, MAS, had no immediate comment when contacted by CNBC.

The news comes after the central bank broke the news of Three Arrows Capital, a disgraced crypto hedge fund betting billions on failed stablecoin terraUSD, for providing misleading information about its 2021 relocation to the British Virgin Islands closed down.

Over the years, the Asian megacity has been known as a fintech and cryptocurrency-friendly jurisdiction, lending money to a number of big companies including domestic banking giant DBS, British fintech firm Revolut and Singaporean cryptocurrency exchange Crypto. The door is wide open. com.

Garlinghouse will speak next Wednesday at the Zero Point Forum in Zurich, Switzerland, “to discuss the resurgence of innovation in digital assets through investment and thoughtful regulation,” the firm said.

It was followed by Ripple’s $250 million acquisition of cryptocurrency custody service Metaco to expand its presence in the Swiss market and diversify outside the United States. Recently, Ripple’s Garlinghouse stated that the company will spend more than $200 million in legal fees at the conclusion of its lawsuit with the SEC.