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Naver and Kakao’s Singapore crypto license application turned down: report


forkast.news 04 January 2022 11:51, UTC
Reading time: ~2 m

South Korean internet giants Naver and Kakao have met a roadblock in moving into Singapore’s blockchain space as their applications to be licensed under the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) Payment Services Act were turned down.

Fast facts

  • According to a local report, Line Tech Plus and Klaytn, the blockchain subsidiaries of Naver and Kakao respectively, have not been approved for their digital payment token services in Singapore. Previously, the two businesses could operate under an exemption as part of transitional arrangements while their license applications were being reviewed. The MAS website shows that the two entities are no longer exempt from holding the license to operate.
  • With the Payment Services Act 2019, the MAS has required only licensed digital token payment service providers to continue their operations as part of its anti-money laundering and terrorism funding efforts. While around 170 companies applied for the license to the authority, only three — DBS Vickers, Singapore-based FOMO Pay, and Australian crypto exchange Independent Reserve — have gained approval from Singapore to provide digital payment token services. 
  • In December last year, Binance’s Singapore entity announced that it had withdrawn from applying for the license, resulting in complete closure of Binance.sg, its fiat-to-crypto trading platform in Singapore.
  • Kakao and Naver, as leading internet companies of South Korea, pursued global expansion of their blockchain businesses via Singapore in light of the added restrictions back home in South Korea. Kakao had recently announced moving all core blockchain developments to Singapore under its global accelerator unit Krust, while reconstructing its original blockchain unit GroundX into focusing on NFTs (non-fungible tokens).
  • While their future blockchain endeavors in Singapore may be at risk, neither Naver nor Kakao has responded to Forkast.News or made announcements on their next step in Singapore.

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