Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange (by adjusted trading volume), announced on Wednesday (July 10; 01:00 UTC) the official public launch of Binance Singapore, a fiat-to-crypto platform for buying crypto with Singapore Dollars (SGD).
This new venture is backed by two divisions of Vertex Ventures (a global venture capital network focused on IT and healthcare): Vertex Ventures China; and Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India,
Binance Singapore allows residents of Singapore to buy and sell Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and Binance Coin (BNB) using the following trading pairs: BTC-SGD, ETH-SGD, and BNB-SGD.
Here is what the buy/sell interface looks like:
This platform supports real-time 24/7 SGD deposit/withdrawal functionality using Singapore's FAST (Fast and Secure Transfers) electronic funds transfer service, which "enables customers of the participating banks to transfer Singapore Dollar funds from one bank to another in Singapore almost instantly."
The first time that the world heard about Binance's plan to launch a fiat-to-crypto exchange in Singapore was back on 15 September 2018, when Changpeng Zhao (aka "CZ"), Co-Founder and CEO at Binance, mentioned during day two of the Consensus: Singapore 2018 conference that "closed beta testing" of Binance Singapore would be starting on 18 September 2018:
Then, in a Medium blog post published on 23 October 2018, Binance said that "there’s no better gateway to Southeast Asia than Singapore" since this multicultural city-state "has shown tremendous support for blockchain and distributed ledger technology." It also said that with the help of Vertex Ventures, it was looking forward to offering its expertise in Southeast Asia, "hoping to play a strategic role in opening up more opportunities and spreading financial freedom throughout the region."
Next, on 4 April 2019, CZ, while attending the Deconomy 2019 event in Seoul, South Korea, sent out the following via Binance's official Twitter account:
Approximately two weeks later (on 17 April 2019), Wei Zhou, Binance's Chief Financial Officer (CFO), told Coindesk:
Next week we are going to launch the Singapore simple buy/sell on-ramp. It will actually be a new product we are launching, as a very easy buy/sell platform so users in Singapore can buy and sell bitcoin with Singapore dollars... It will just be bitcoin, but we hope to add more [cryptocurrencies].
According to a press release shared with CryptoGlobe, since that "soft launch" in April, this platform "has seen user growth of about 20 percent per week with rapid ramp up in trading volume."
Although initially, only three cryptocurrencies―Bitcoin, Ether, and Binance Coin―are supported by Binance Singapore, the plan is to add other cryptocurrencies in the future.
The Binance CEO said:
We are humbled by the positive market response to Binance Singapore thus far, which is largely due to our strategic investment partner. Vertex has been a key driver of engaging the Singapore community through its trusted work with local regulators and financial institutions.
As for Chua Kee Lock, Managing Partner for Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India, he had this to say:
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.
Binance Singapore "currently charges the lowest trading, deposit and withdrawal fees in the Singapore market." It is "one of the three operating compliant fiat-to-cryptocurrency platforms in the Binance ecosystem" (with the other two being Binance Uganda and Binance Jersey).
On Tuesday (July 9), Binance, which turns two years old on July 14, announced that, in order to "provide a better service" for its users, it had reduced the number of confirmations needed for deposits/withdrawals on the BTC and ETH networks:
BTC: 1 block confirmation required for deposits (down from 2 block confirmations previously) and 2 block confirmations required for withdrawals. ETH & ERC20 tokens: 12 block confirmations required for both deposits and withdrawals (down from 30 block confirmations previously).
Both images Courtesy of Binance