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Stablecoin Issuer Circle Wins MAS License

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Circle Internet Financial, a global digital financial technology firm has received In-Principle Approval as a Major Payments Institution License holder from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Founded in 2013, the startup is best known as the issuer of the USD Coin (USDC) and Euro Coin (EUROC) stablecoins, which have market capitalizations of US$43 billion and US$77 million respectively.

The MPI license allows Circle to offer digital payment token products, cross-border and domestic transfer services in the city-state.

“This milestone enables us to work with all relevant stakeholders and demonstrate the potential of digital currencies, open payment systems and innovation-forward fintech regulations to drive economic growth and strengthen Singapore’s position as a global hub for digital assets,” Dante Disparte, Circle’s chief strategy officer and head of global policy, was quoted in a press release shared with Blockhead.

“As one of the world’s leading financial hubs, Singapore is instrumental to Circle’s regional and global expansion plans in raising global economic prosperity,” said Jeremy Allaire, co-founder and CEO of Circle.

Circle previously identified Singapore as its principal hub in Asia and continues hiring in the city state to service its growing regional business.

Read more: Is Coinbase’s Singapore Approval a Sign of Things to Come?

MAS has taken a rather cautious approach to crypto in Singapore, deterring exposure to retail investors. The financial watchdog recently warned that not all activities related to DPT are regulated in the city-state. But just last month, Coinbase and received in-principal approvals from MAS to provide DPT services in the country.

At the same time, the city-state has its work cut out for itself, with Hong Kong laying out the groundwork for the city to become a digital assets hub.

Related: Hong Kong Charts Own Path for Crypto Domination

SPAC delays

Last year, Circle announced that it would be going public via a special purpose acquisition vehicle (SPAC), at a US$4.5 billion valuation, with Concord Acquisition Corp, aimed to be completed by the end of 2021.

However, the deal has been hit by delays. While Allaire confirmed plans to go public in Q4 2022 after closing the acquisition deal, Concord said it would further delay Circle’s acquisition to January 2023, hinting that the SEC is behind the delay. It has also doubled its valuation to US$9 billion.

US regulators have kept a strict stance towards stablecoins and DeFi, which is likely to last until regulatory frameworks are introduced for the asset class. Additionally, the ongoing bear market and the Fed’s hawkish stance on rate hikes also impacted the acquisition.