Binance Group says it will wind down its Singaporean fiat-to-crypto trading platform, and will instead refocus its operations in the island city-state on creating a blockchain innovation hub.

The world-leading crypto exchange said it was taking into account “strategic, commercial and developmental considerations globally” in deciding to withdraw its application from the Monetary Authority of Singapore for a licence to operate a regulated crypto exchange in the country.

“We always put our users first, so our decision to close was not taken lightly,” said Richard Teng, chief executive officer of Binance Singapore.

“Our immediate priority is to help our users in Singapore transition their holdings to other wallets or other third-party services. I am grateful to the Monetary Authority of Singapore for its ongoing assistance to Binance Asia Services and we look forward to future opportunities to work together.”

A local subsidiary of Sydney-based Independent Reserve is one of just a very few crypto institutions that have been approved to offer crypto services in Singapore. Around 100 others have had their licences rejected or have withdrawn from the process. A 2019 law requires crypto exchanges to get licences.

Binance said that would close by 13 February 2022 and its Singapore operations will now focus on incubation programs, blockchain education and further investment opportunities.

Philbert Gomez, vice president of Digital Industry Singapore, said the blockchain innovation hub would “further boost the fast-growing tech research and development scene here and advance our capabilities in crypto and the token economy”.

“We look forward to working with Binance to develop a vibrant blockchain ecosystem that will benefit Singaporeans and Singapore-based companies to create world-class innovation for the region and globally.”