The Singapore affiliate of Binance, one of the world's largest cryptocurrencies exchanges, said on Monday that it will withdraw its local license application and wind down its digital payment token business in the city-state.
The company, which has come under scrutiny globally, did not give a reason for its decision beyond "strategic, commercial and developmental considerations."
Governments and financial watchdogs around the world have intensified scrutiny of the cryptocurrencies industry this year, posing a challenge to exchanges that have thrived in a mostly unregulated environment.
The move comes a week after the UK's Financial Conduct Authority gave the go-ahead for the company to become a registered firm there. Since clashing with the regulators, the company has established a UK office with a large number of compliance staff.
Singapore is a popular location for cryptocurrencies firms due to a relatively clear regulatory environment and is one of the earliest places to develop a formal licensing framework.
While its license request was being processed, the Singapore unit of Binance had been allowed to do business while it applied for a license.
The first licenses issued by Singapore this year were to a unit of the largest bank in Southeast Asia.
The platform for trading cryptocurrencies in Singapore will close in February. Users in Singapore will not be able to trade on the global platform because of local regulation.
"I think this shows that Singapore's license regime is very strict," said Chia Hock Lai, co-chairman, Blockchain Association Singapore.
Singapore is a very importantBlockchain hub, and it is consistent with the narrative that Singapore is a very importantBlockchain hub.
Financial regulators in Hong Kong, Germany, and Japan have targeted the company. Some have banned the platform from certain activities, while others have warned consumers that it was not licensed to operate.
In September, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and other US regulators launched a probe into whether the company engaged in insider trading.