CRYPTO exchange Binance has officially launched Binance Singapore (binance.sg), its online platform here for the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies with Singapore dollars, the company announced in a press release on Wednesday.
In addition, Binance is looking at ways to "grow the Singapore blockchain ecosystem" in collaboration with its strategic investors, Vertex Ventures China and Vertex Ventures South-east Asia and India. Both venture funds jointly invested an undisclosed sum in Binance in October last year.
Binance Singapore, which soft-launched in April, provides round-the-clock Singapore-dollar deposit and withdrawal functionality, using the FAST electronic funds transfer system.
It currently allows local users to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum and Binance Coin. Other cryptocurrencies will be added in future, Binance said. The Singapore platform is Binance's third fiat-to-crypto platform globally - it already has one for the Euro and British Pound, and another for the Ugandan Shilling.
Since April, Binance Singapore has seen the number of users grow about 20 per cent each week, with a "rapid ramp up" in trading volume. Binance chief executive Changpeng Zhao, more commonly known as CZ, attributed the positive market response in Singapore to the involvement of the Vertex funds.
"Vertex has been a key driver of engaging the Singapore community through its trusted work with local regulators and financial institutions. Their global track record of managing an innovative technology portfolio and taking all the proper measures also showcases their ability to sustainably grow Singapore's broader blockchain ecosystem," he said in the press release.
"We are dedicated to jointly provide a strong infrastructure that sustains the highest level of security and compliance. At the same time, we are enthusiastic about carrying on the current momentum that is a testament to the sophisticated technology of Binance," said Chua Kee Lock, managing partner for Vertex Ventures South-east Asia and India, in the release.
"There is much more to come from this partnership. We look forward to working closely with Binance as we are strongly positioned to lower barriers to entry for cryptocurrencies, while maintaining world-class security measures that are industry-leading," Mr Chua added.
Currently based in Malta, Binance was originally founded in 2017 in Hong Kong, but moved out of China following the Chinese government's crackdown on cryptocurrencies. It has since risen to become one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world. Mr Zhao told Bloomberg in July 2018 that the company was expecting a net profit of between US$500 million and US$1 billion for the full year.
Like many crypto players, however, Binance has faced challenges on the regulatory and security fronts. In March 2018, Japanese authorities warned Binance for operating without registration. In May this year, hackers stole US$40 million worth of Bitcoin from Binance.