Singapore suspends exchange Bitget’s license over K-pop coin promotion

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Singapore suspends exchange Bitget’s 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 representing the popular K-pop boy band BTS.

As reported by the Financial Times on Sunday, Bitget lost the Singapore license following the controversial listing of a new K-pop-related cryptocurrency called Army Coin (ARMY). 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 Bitget shared a tweet promoting ARMY Coin, which is named after the South Korean boy band’s followers, known as the BTS ARMY — an abbreviation of “Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth.”

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 boy band’s portrait rights by showcasing the new cryptocurrency on its website using the “ARMY” ticker and BTS’ name and images without permission.

Once the agency, Hybe, received information that the cryptocurrency had been listed on the Singapore-based exchange, it 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 who had lost money on it to contact the police.

Bitget responded to the statement, according to reports, by clarifying that as a trading platform, it did not create the coin itself and takes no responsibility for it. However, the ARMY token was delisted by the exchange on Friday. The Financial Times 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 its most recent Series B funding round, it’s valued at $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 giant 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.