San Francisco-based fintech firm Ripple has received a preliminary license to operate as a payment service provider in Singapore. The move comes amid a massive crackdown on the digital asset industry in the United States.
On June 21, Ripple announced that it had received preliminary regulatory approval to operate in Singapore. The fintech firm received a Major Payment Institution license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the country's central bank.
Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse commented on the positive approach the Asian island has taken towards cryptocurrencies. "As a major global financial center, Singapore has been at the forefront of adopting a pragmatic and innovative approach to crypto," he said.
The new license will enable Ripple's headquarters in the Asia-Pacific region to offer digital payment token products and services. It will also allow the company to expand cross-border payments using its native XRP token. Ripple has doubled the number of employees in its Singapore office, which it opened in 2017. The recent move represents another pivot to Asia by a major US cryptocurrency firm as pressure mounts on the industry at home.
According to the company, 90% of its business is global and Singapore is one of the most dynamic markets and an important target for recruitment, according to information reported by the Straits Times.
Ripple added that it has experienced "unprecedented business momentum". About 60% of its global payments were made through RippleNet and on-demand liquidity (ODL) last year. Singapore's ODL volume increased fivefold last year, the press release said.
Stuart Alderoty, Ripple's chief legal officer, said Singapore was one of the "early champions in developing a clear and viable regulatory framework for blockchain and crypto."
"While the US hesitates, Ripple will continue to invest time and resources in countries like Singapore," he added.
Ripple is among several US fintech firms turning their attention to foreign markets. These include Coinbase, Gemini, Galaxy Digital and Paxo. Earlier this year, stablecoin issuer Circle received a Major Payment Institution (MPI) license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore. XRP Price Insights
Ripple's native token XRP is up 3.6% today, largely after the news was made public a few hours ago.
At the time of writing, XRP was trading at $0.515, up 6.7% over the past week. However, it lagged behind Bitcoin and Ethereum in terms of weekly gains.
XRP is currently 85% down from its January 2018 high of $3.40, but a victory in front of the SEC can change that dramatically.