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The world's largest crypto exchange, Binance, announced on Monday that it has withdrawn its application for a license to operate in Singapore and will end its trading platform in the geographic jurisdiction by February 13. The company said it plans to create a blockchain innovation hub in Singapore instead.

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Binance Singapore had been operating in Singapore under a temporary exemption, and had applied for a crypto license through the Monetary Authority of Singapore, like almost 170 other companies. 

However, on Monday, Binance Singapore said that it was now pursuing a "strategic refocus" toward creating a blockchain innovation hub in the island city-state instead. "Binance will explore a number of Singapore-based initiatives, including incubation programs, blockchain education, and further investment opportunities," the company said.

Effective immediately, the company said its Singapore arm would no longer accept new registrations and would block users from depositing crypto or fiat.

However, users would still be able to buy and sell crypto on the platform until January 12, 2022.

“Our decision to close was not taken lightly," said Richard Teng, CEO of Binance Singapore. “Our immediate priority is to help our users in Singapore transition their holdings to other wallets or other third-party services.”

As the world's largest crypto exchange by trading volume — reaching an average daily volume of $2 billion and over 1.4 million transactions per second — Binance still has yet to declare a location for its headquarters, though it is expected to be announced soon.

"Singapore is a vibrant fintech hub and Southeast Asia is an important region for us. We plan to make further investments in the region, with Singapore as one of the centers for technology, research and development. This will complement our efforts in other key centers globally," added Teng.

“We welcome Binance’s plans to build a hub for blockchain innovation in Singapore. It will further boost the fast-growing tech research and development scene here and advance our capabilities in crypto and the token economy,” said Philbert Gomez, VP of Digital Industry Singapore.