Standard Chartered Launching Crypto Trading For Institutional Clients

A unit of Standard Chartered PLC is set to launch a platform that will provide cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage services, targeting its institutional and corporate clients.

The new exchange platform will be created through a partnership between SC Ventures and BC Technology Group, which manages OSL, a crypto exchange licensed in Hong Kong. SC Ventures is the bank’s innovation division.

The project has not yet been named and is still seeking regulatory approval. However, it is expected to launch in the last quarter of 2021. Nick Philpott from SC Ventures will be the project’s chief operating officer, while Usman Ahmad from BC Group will be the project’s CEO.

Targeting European Institutional Clients

In its announcement, Standard Chartered stated that the exchange would focus on the European market and allow institutional clients to access digital asset trading services.

Alex Manson, the head of SC Ventures, said, “The new company will offer brokerage and exchange services to enable wider adoption and trading of cryptocurrencies by “the world’s largest and most demanding of investors.” He also added that “We have a strong conviction that digital assets are here to stay and will be adopted by the institutional market as a highly relevant asset class.”

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Financial firms have been under pressure from institutional clients who want to gain exposure in the crypto sector. Standard Chartered had earlier conducted a survey, which showed that major crypto exchange platforms traded more than $4 billion a day. This shows the potential of the crypto markets and why financial giants such as the Asia-focused bank are taking a keen interest by setting up new services.

Leading Financial Firms are Embracing Crypto

By launching a crypto-based platform, Standard Chartered will be joining other global banking giants that have launched crypto trading avenues for their clients. These banks include Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, BNY Mellon and Asian competitor DBS.

JPMorgan launched a dedicated blockchain unit known as Onyx. The unit would help create the bank’s native token named JPM Coin and create an interbank payment network.

However, not all banks have shown positivity towards cryptocurrencies. HSBC, a major competitor of Standard Chartered, stated that the bank would not be launching a cryptocurrency trading desk.

This will not be the only move that Standard Chartered is making towards embracing cryptocurrencies. The bank partnered with Northern Trust in December to launch Zodia Custody, an institutional custody service.

Last July, the bank also bought a stake in Metaco, a blockchain technology service provider. It also said it was collaborating with the central banks of Hong Kong and Thailand to explore money transfers made on the blockchain.

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