Bloomberg recently reported on Singapore’s efforts to improve its foreign exchange trading market.

The tiny Southeast Asian island nation is already one of the busiest foreign exchange trading hubs in Asia but it still falls far behind the world’s largest – London and New York. The nation only handles a daily average of $529 billion out of the total $5.3 trillion forex market. This is in part due to millisecond delays that occur when trades between Tokyo and London are routed via Singapore.

A blockchain-based solution?

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) now plans to bring in several external firms to try and tackle the problem – including organizations that are not traditional financial institutions. While the Bloomberg article doesn’t specifically mention that the MAS is looking into blockchain-related technology, it would seem like an obvious choice to solve such an issue.

Cryptocurrency companies like Ripple have already started implementing foreign exchange solutions that utilize the XRP token to complete international remittance within fractions of a second. Ripple’s xRapid payment system, which went live last October, has enjoyed successful implementations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Mexico. While the system may not be large enough yet to compete with the kind of volume that the current SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) system can manage, it is improving on a daily basis and represents emerging ideas within the sector.

UBS Bank, which recently opened a trading engine in Singapore, is now backing the creation of a pricing hub in the city via London-based XTX Markets Ltd. In August last year, veteran trader and former head of global affairs at XTX Markets, Jan Stromme, launched a quantitative analysis-driven crypto trading store through his new company Alphaplate.

Crypto exchange Binance enters Singapore

One of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges, Binance, recently opened a dedicated Bitcoin (BTC) trading desk in Singapore. The desk currently only offers simple buy/sell options for Bitcoin and Singapore Dollars (SGD), but the company noted that additional trading options will be added in time. The news came hot on the heels of last week’s launch of the Binance decentralized exchange (DEX).

The development is a further indication of Singapore’s intentions to compete with Hong Kong as Asia’s leading finance hub.