Singapore suspends Bitget exchange license over K-Pop coin promotion


Singapore-headquartered digital asset platform, Bitget, has reportedly been suspended by the Monetary Authority of Singapore after getting into a dispute with an agency for the popular K-Pop boy band BTS.

As reported by the Financial Times on Dec. 5, Bitget lost the Singapore license following the controversial listing of a new K-Pop-related cryptocurrency called Army Coin. However, the crypto exchange still claims to have licenses in other jurisdictions such as Australia, Canada, and the United States.

The issue arose on Oct. 25, when the Bitget exchange shared a tweet promoting Army Coin, which is named after the South Korean boyband’s followers.

It allegedly used misleading information such as, “This coin exists for the benefit of BTS” and “ARMY coin aims to take care of BTS members for life”.

The exchange reportedly violated the band agency’s portrait rights by showcasing the new cryptocurrency on their website using the “ARMY” ticker and BTS’s name and images without permission.

Once the agency, Hybe, received information that the cryptocurrency had been listed on the Singapore-based exchange, they announced:

“We are currently looking into the legal violations in this case, including the cryptocurrency’s infringement on our artists’ portrait rights without permission from or discussion with the agency. We will take legal action against all infringements and violations.”

It added that the coin had “no affiliation” with BTS and urged those that had lost money on it to contact the police.

Bitget responded to the statement according to reports, by clarifying that as a trading platform, they did not create the coin itself and will take no responsibility for it. However, the ARMY token was delisted by the exchange on Dec. 3. The FT reported that the coin was available for trading in other jurisdictions on Bitget, including in South Korea.

Founded in Singapore in 2018, Bitget claims to have over 1.5 million registered users worldwide, and after their most recent Series B funding is valued at US$1 Billion.

Related: Singaporean crypto exchange enters India amid regulatory uncertainty

Bitget was cast into the industry spotlight after securing a sponsorship deal with Italian soccer giants Juventus in September and becoming an official partner of PGL Major Stockholm 2021 in October.

In June, Bitget also inked a partnership with stablecoin issuer Circle to become one of the first exchanges to list USD Coin (USDC) as collateral for trading crypto derivatives.

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