As we approach the conclusion of 2023 and usher in the new year of 2024, it provides us with a valuable opportunity as a company to reflect on the significant milestones attained throughout the year. We are delighted to present to you the highlights of our achievements in the form of StraitsX 2023 Wrapped.
Since the launch of the StraitsX Singapore Dollar (XSGD) in October 2020, XSGD continues to experience success, standing out as one of the largest non-USD denominated stablecoins in the world with a market cap with close to 8 billion XSGD transacted across the Ethereum, Polygon, Hedera, and Zilliqa chains to date.
In March 2023, we reached out to users beyond just Singapore and Indonesia, introducing Personal account signups for international users. Users across the globe now have access to interact and transact within the stablecoin ecosystem, including XSGD and USDC, across various Defi protocols.
In May 2023, we expanded XSGD’s multichain ecosystem with support on the Hedera network. This integration into the Hedera network brings the benefits of a Southeast Asian fiat-backed stablecoin to end-users and applications within the Hedera network. Utilising XSGD on Hedera ensures high transaction scalability, instant settlement times, and low predictable transaction fees.
2023 also became the year when StraitsX launched our new feature StraitsX Swap within our dashboard. It enables verified Singapore and international StraitsX Personal and Business Account holders to seamlessly swap between stablecoins of different currencies. StraitsX Swap is fee-free and allows near-instant execution of trades. XSGD and USDC are currently the two stablecoins available to be swapped with ongoing efforts to expand support for additional stablecoins.
In October 2023, we collaborated with new banking partners to re-introduce USD banking rails, allowing direct Transfer In and Transfer Out of USD for verified Singapore and International Personal and Business account users. The USD payment rails are designed to allow StraitsX users to seamlessly interact with USD-denominated stablecoins, starting with USDC. This feature enables users to easily mint USDC by converting USD fiat funds directly from a bank account and redeeming USDC for USD with equal ease. Ongoing efforts are in place to allow for additional USD-pegged stablecoins to be supported and minted directly via the StraitsX platform.
2023 also marks our second year in showcasing commercial applications for XSGD-backed Purpose Bound Money (PBM). Together with Grab, UOB, Fave, and additional support from other partners, we launched the Singapore Pitstop Pack industry trial.
PBMs in the form of NFT vouchers were sold to locals and visitors to Singapore via a voucher pack listed on Fave, with payments accepted at over 200 participating merchant outlets via Grab’s newly launched Web3 Wallet. At Singapore FinTech Festival 2023, the StraitsX team also showcased payment flows with these vouchers; distributing free vouchers to attendees, and inviting booth visitors to make seamless purchases of beverages at the StraitsX booth.
The concept of PBM was first introduced by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) as part of its Project Orchid initiative to develop the competency and digital infrastructure needed to issue a digital Singapore dollar domestically. Singapore Pitstop Pack vouchers demonstrate a commercial application for PBM, allowing conditions such as programmable rewards, validity period, and type of merchants to be specified when making transfers in digital money. When a consumer pays using PBM, funds are also transferred to the merchant immediately upon fulfilment of specified terms, without a need for a separate reconciliation process.
Since its launch in September 2023, close to SGD25,000 worth of Singapore Pitstop Pack vouchers have been claimed by users.
In partnership with Amazon, we also expanded on real-world applications for PBM this year – this time for the facilitation of escrow arrangements in an online retail transaction.
In the lead-up to Singapore FinTech Festival 2023, Amazon distributed XSGD-backed Amazon X SFF vouchers worth $10, allowing event attendees to take their pick and spend these vouchers on a range of exciting exclusive merchandise listed on an online pop-up store, before collecting purchased items in person at the festival.
For this pilot, XSGD-backed Amazon X SFF vouchers are an example of PBM facilitating escrow arrangements, showcasing how the dollar value of the voucher can be earmarked for purchase first, before only releasing funds when customers have collected or received their items.
Looking ahead to 2024, StraitsX is committed to exploring cross-border PBM payments through collaboration with Ant International and Grab. This initiative aims to integrate local Singapore GrabPay merchants with Ant International’s Alipay+ solutions, accepting payments from a large tourist base. If successful, this advancement in cross-border payment capabilities will expand PBM use cases to launch in Singapore in 2024.
Perhaps one of the key highlights that are closest to our hearts – Earlier in November, StraitsX received In-Principle Approval (IPA) from MAS to issue XSGD (out of StraitsX SGD Issuance Pte. Ltd.) and XUSD (out of StraitsX USD Issuance Pte. Ltd.) respectively. Furthermore, we have also received various MPI IPA licenses awarded to affiliate entities Xfers Pte. Ltd., and StraitsX Payments Services Pte. Ltd. to provide the additional scope of payment services regulated under the PS Act 2019.
The latest nod from MAS signifies a huge step forward for the future of regulated, transparent, and trusted stablecoins, and will allow StraitsX to continue enhancing the accessibility of digital assets to individuals and businesses within a regulated framework.
Therefore, the StraitsX team is deeply honoured to have been among the first to be recognised by MAS to be substantially compliant. We will continue working towards full compliance with upcoming stablecoin and payment services regulatory frameworks to show our commitment towards being a trusted service provider for our users.
StraitsX remains committed to transparency by issuing public attestations of StraitsX stablecoin. Issued by a certified public accountant in Singapore, through a process following the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ISCA) standards, the reports outline all Singapore dollar-denominated reserve assets backing the XSGD tokens.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our customers and partners who have been part of our journey so far. Thanks to your support, 2023 has been a remarkable year. Your trust has fueled our success, and we eagerly anticipate sharing more exciting news in the year 2024. Thank you!