By Rae Wee
SINGAPORE - Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase will let customers in Singapore move funds to and from accounts via local banks, smoothing one path to investing in digital assets at a time when markets are on edge over financial stability and crypto banking.
Transfers, in Singapore dollars, are facilitated by a traditional bank, Standard Chartered, and carry no fee, the company said in a statement. Previously, users could only purchase crypto via a Visa or Mastercard debit or credit card, or transfer crypto in and out of their Coinbase account.
Hassan Ahmed, Coinbase's country director for Singapore, told in an interview the move was part of the company's international expansion strategy. Rivals Crypto.com and Gemini already offer a similar service.
Coinbase, which last year received in-principle approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to offer payment services in the city-state, is looking to ramp up its Singapore retail offerings, said Ahmed.
Singapore has generally welcomed crypto businesses but has been wary of encouraging retail involvement. In October, the MAS proposed rules that would forbid trading businesses from offering incentives or financing to retail customers.
Coinbase's announcement also comes with confidence in crypto fragile as the fallout from the spectacular collapse of crypto exchange FTX continues to reverberate through markets.
Crypto-focused bank Silvergate Capital Corp became the latest casualty as it announced it would close down earlier in March.
(Reporting by Rae Wee; Editing by Mark Potter)