Google and Alibaba Didn’t File for Crypto Licenses in Singapore

Neither the author, Tim Fries, nor this website, The Tokenist, provide financial advice. Please consult our website policy prior to making financial decisions.

As countries, such as the US, discuss how to implement accurate regulatory frameworks for cryptocurrencies, the industry continues to be the wild west. Since Bitcoin’s inception in 2009, Asia has been a popular area for blockchain companies. More recently, Singapore is becoming a major hub for crypto companies due to favorable taxes and regulations.

Two Tech Giants Applied for Licenses, but not for Cryptocurrency Permits

In January of 2019, Singapore passed the Payment Services Act, clarifying regulations and licensing for FinTech companies. Since January 2020, companies have been operating under a grace period.

Now, in an interview with Bloomberg Sopnendu Mohanty, the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) chief fintech officer, he said that over 300 companies have applied for licenses from the MAS. Included in this are Google and Alibaba.

Despite what is being echoed on the web lately, Alibaba and Google did not apply for licenses that would allow them to conduct crypto-related business in Singapore. According to the MAS, the licenses they applied for would allow them to conduct a wide array of monetary services – but this doesn’t involve cryptocurrency.

Google Seemingly Changes Stance on Crypto

As the crypto revolution progresses, large corporations continue to become more involved. While major tech player, Google, has remained away from the crypto scene, they recently declared that crypto ads will now be permitted on their platforms. 

In addition, earlier this week, Google announced that the Coinbase card will be integrated with Google Pay, allowing users to make purchases with cryptocurrencies. With both PayPal and Venmo recently unveiling crypto features, there seems to be a trend toward payment processors supporting digital assets. Will Google Pay be next to follow this trend?

Google Pay is included on the list of companies applying for payment processing licenses from the MAS. While none of the five licenses Google applied for explicitly mention the use of cryptocurrencies, the company’s recent acceptance of the space may indicate a different attitude towards digital assets.

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Will Alibaba Be Next to Enter Crypto Space?

In addition to Google Pay, Alibaba payment service, AliPay has also filed for the same five MAS licenses. Being a tech pioneer in Asia, it seems logical that Alibaba would be involved with cryptocurrencies in some fashion. Although, the situation is complicated with China’s recent reiteration of crypto laws.

There is no apparent evidence that AliPay has intentions to become involved with crypto, but the possibility can be investigated, especially with the recent application for licenses from the MAS. A string of tweets from 2018 shows that the corporation has expressed interest in developing crypto features at one point:

Tweet: https://twitter.com/cnLedger/status/953424886378065920 

Additionally, Alibaba is known to have acquired a huge number of blockchain patents, giving them solid opportunities to develop groundbreaking technologies. Similarly to Google, the application for licenses could shine a light on future endeavors.

Source: Kiss Patent

All in all, although major players are seriously warming up to cryptocurrency and everything that comes along with it, it seems that their crypto adoption has not taken full swing yet. Although there is no shortage of optimistic-sounding misinformation online, the momentum of DeFi is undoubtedly influencing the tech giants of the world to adapt.

Google and Alibaba are two tech giants who are yet to publicly enter the greater crypto industry. Do you see a future where you will be using Google and/or Alibaba for your crypto needs? Let us know in the comments.

About the author

Tim Fries is the cofounder of The Tokenist. He has a B. Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Tim served as a Senior Associate on the investment team at RW Baird’s US Private Equity division, and is also the co-founder of Protective Technologies Capital, an investment firms specializing in sensing, protection and control solutions.

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