June 27, 2023
SINGAPORE – Cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com will be setting up its first global innovation lab that focuses on blockchain technology, Web3 and artificial intelligence (AI) in Singapore.
The Singapore-based firm on Tuesday said in a release that the lab will actively experiment with frontier technologies, explore new ventures with strategic partners and hackathons, and identify novel applications for blockchain, Web3 and AI.
The lab is expected to further accelerate the development of the nascent digital asset industry and build Singapore’s Web3 and fintech ecosystems’ talent pool.
“As an immediate next step, Crypto.com will build a new team fully dedicated to the lab, with additional roles to be established in the future,” the exchange said in a statement.
When asked for details about the team, Crypto.com said it “will hire in the areas of product, design, engineering and data science for the initial roles”, but did not say how big it expects the initial team to be, how much it costs to set up or whether it has any projects it is looking at.
The initiative was announced by the exchange during the Point Zero Forum in Switzerland. The forum is jointly organised by the Swiss State Secretariat for International Finance and Elevandi, a not-for-profit entity set up by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) for businesses and policymakers to exchange ideas and insights in the fintech sector in Singapore and globally.
Crypto.com’s announcement to designate Singapore as its global innovation hub comes nearly a month after it said it has been granted a major payment institution licence for digital payment token (DPT) services from MAS.
With the licence, the firm said at the start of the month that it will be able to continue to extend its DPT services to customers in Singapore, including e-money issuance, account issuance and cross-border and domestic money transfers.
The granting of the licence comes a year after MAS handed out an in-principle approval to the firm.
So far, there are around 15 crypto-related firms that can offer DPT services here, either through the major payment institution licence or standard payment institution licence.
Last week, Crypto.com said it will suspend its services to institutional clients in the United States, citing “limited demand”.
The move comes as the US authorities crack down on the sector, with the Securities and Exchange Commission suing exchanges Binance and Coinbase. This has prompted firms with operations there to look elsewhere for diversification.
Crypto.com was founded in 2016 by Mr Bobby Bao, Mr Gary Or, Mr Kris Marszalek and Mr Rafael Melo.
Crypto activity has been muted following 2022’s crypto crashes, including the spectacular fall of crypto exchange FTX. Rising interest rates are also adding to pressure to the sector, which has seen global layoffs.