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Crypto exchanges eye HNW money in Singapore

Crypto exchanges eye HNW money in Singapore

As regulators in South Korea, China and Hong Kong continue to clamp down heavily on digital currencies, Singapore is becoming the next hotbed for cryptocurrency activity in Asia.

A number of issuers and crypto exchanges making appearance at the Money 20/20 conference in Singapore this March, is a clear sign of the opportunities presented by the city-state.

At the event, online broker ThinkMarkets announced that it will launch a blockchain-based exchange powered by a new cryptocurrency called ThinkCoin.

The exchange, targeted at high-net-worth individuals, aims to facilitate peer-to-peer lending across multiple assets, such as FX, commodities, precious metals, equities and cryptocurrencies.

‘We have a very massive user base in Asia - Japan, China and some in Southeast Asia,’ Naeem Aslam, chief markets analyst for ThinkCoin told Citywire Asia.

The initial coin offering (ICO) for ThinkCoin will be launched next week and will be priced at $0.21 in pre-ICO and $0.30 in ICO.

Following licenses in Australia and the UK, the firm is hoping to get additional licences from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Japan and also South Africa with money raised from the ICO.

Similarly, Visa-backed cryptocurrency platform Monaco announced that it will soon roll out a robo-advisor in addition to credit and investment products backed by its token, MCO, in Singapore.

Called Auto Invest, the robo-advisor will invest in a portfolio of cryptocurrencies for Singapore-based investors, before being rolled out to other markets.

Having partnered with German bank Wirecard, it is currently preparing for the launch of the Monaco Visa card in Singapore as well. The card is connected to a wallet app that holds both fiat and cryptocurrency.

‘Three years from now, every single high net worth in Asia is going to have a small portion of their portfolios in cryptocurrency. This is the inevitable future,’ said Kris Marszalek, co-founder and CEO of Monaco.

The company raised $26.7 million in its token sale and has offices in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Commenting on talks with private banks, Marszalek told Citywire Asia: ‘We’ve got 70,000 people who have passed KYC [Know-Your-Customer] and reserved the card without spending a dollar on marketing. So we don’t really have a distribution problem.’

Last week, Acudeen, a Philippines-based online platform for receivables discounting, announced that it will launch a public token sale in Singapore with a hard cap of $35 million in April. It established an office in the city-state earlier this year.

Founder of 8990 Holdings, JJ Atencio, and Filipino businessman Jean Henri Lhuiller have invested in the platform, a spokesperson said.

However, speaking at the conference, Ravi Menon, managing director at the Monetary Authority of Singapore, cautioned against the use of cryptocurrencies as ‘money’, highlighting that a significant portion of Bitcoin transactions globally are for illicit purposes.

‘The marketing pitch by crypto token operators to seize the current lower prices as a buying opportunity only serves to illustrate how unstable, risky, and ugly this game has become,’ said Menon.

‘Investors in schemes involving crypto tokens may also be exposed to a heightened risk of fraud,’ he added.

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