coinbase the bitcoin digital currency platform expands into singapore 1202832015

Bitcoin platforms eye the growing business opportunities offered by the region

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By :  ,  Financial Analyst

Singapore has become the first Asian port-of-call for Coinbase, the San Francisco-based bitcoin platform. Coinbase launched bitcoin operations in Singapore on Thursday (September 3) making it possible for Singaporeans to buy the digital currency using Singapore dollars.

Coinbase is in the midst of a global drive to promote the use of its platform for transacting in bitcoin.

"As one of the fastest-growing financial capitals in the world, Singapore represents an important market for us. To date, more than 15,000 people in Singapore have signed up for a Coinbase Wallet, and by extending our buy and sell service to the country, we're helping to make their on-ramp to the bitcoin world as simple and as safe as possible moving forward," said David Farmer, international expansion lead at Coinbase, as reported by Techcrunch.

As an added incentive, Coinbase will waive its retail conversion fees on the direct bitcoin buy-and-sell service through September 9 (Pacific Time).

While Coinbase currently operates across 28 countries, by the end of 2015 its goal is to cover over 40 nations, according to Reuters. Coinbase boasts of more than 3.9 million consumer wallets, 40,000 merchants using its payment mechanism and 7,000 software developers using its platform to create new products.

According to Armstrong, the bitcoin service offered by Coinbase is not considered a regulated activity in Singapore, said TODAY.

MAS does not consider bitcoin as a security or legal tender, and has said that the businesses which accept bitcoin in exchange for goods and services will do so as their own commercial decision – one in which the central bank does not intervene.

The Internal Revenue Authority of Singapore has characterised bitcoin transactions as a barter exchange and said sales of bitcoins would be taxed accordingly.

Though the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is not very confident regarding the long-term prospects for bitcoin, it recently invested US$225 million in the digital currency’s block chain-based technology for a block chain-based record keeping system – a technology which, according to MAS managing director Ravi Menon, could reshape the financial and legal landscape.

Last month, leading Mexican bitcoin exchange meXBT acquired CoinRepublic, an established and reputable bitcoin brokerage in Singapore, with a similar plan to expand throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

“With our platform using Bitcoin as an intermediary system, transactions between companies of Singapore and Mexico can be done in minutes,” meXBT COO Joel Cano said at the time.

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