Singapore’s largest bank by assets, DBS, intends to begin offering digital asset trading to its retail clients by the end of 2022, CEO Piyush Gupta said during the lender’s annual earnings webcast on February 14th.
Gupta said during the earnings call that DBS has already begun working on how it can bring the digital trading service to its retail client base “in a sensible way,” however, the lender’s focus for the first three quarters of 2022 will be to improve access for its credit investor base.
“First order of day is to make it [digital asset trading] all online, make it self-service [and] make it instant”
For the credit investor base, Gupta said, adding that despite the service being live 24/7 clients had to call bankers by phone to place crypto-related orders.
The Singaporean lender, which boasts roughly $500 billion in assets under management, has been involved in digital assets for a number of years now, having launched its members-only DBS Digital Exchange, or DDEx, in December 2020 which allows trading across multiple fiat currencies and frequently traded cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum (Ether) for institutional clients.
DBS was one of the first traditional financial institutions to offer a full suite of services when it comes to digital assets and plans to continue trailblazing with its plan to offer retail clients a convenient way to access its digital assets trading desk.
The lender said in November 2021, that the digital exchange’s trading volume grew 40% in the first eight months of the year since its launch.
Rising adoption among financial institutions
Like DBS, many traditional financial institutions have begun to foray into crypto. Most recently, accounting firm KPMG Canada added crypto to its balance sheet, announcing that it has added an undisclosed amount of Bitcoin and Ether through Gemini Trust Company.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., banking giant Morgan Stanley has been offering its wealthier clients access to crypto-related investments since 2021. Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs has also been offering its wealthiest clients access to bitcoin and other digital assets. An analyst at the lender said in January that Bitcoin will compete with gold as a “store of value” and take away market share from the precious metal as adoption becomes more widespread, according to a Reuters report.
European banks are ahead of the curve when it comes to crypto-related services, with most large banks giving clients direct access to purchase and invest in crypto via their bank accounts. Europe is considered the world’s largest crypto market, according to Chainalysis research.
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