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StanChart to Open BTC, ETH Trading Desk

StanChart is set to launch a spot crypto trading platform for Ethereum and Bitcoin, according to sources cited by Bloomberg. The multinational financial institution intends to launch a spot crypto trading desk that will oversee Ethereum (ETH) and Bitcoin (BTC) transactions.

The move is anticipated to serve the growing number of institutional clients that are interested in Ether and Bitcoin, and will function under the bank’s foreign exchange (FX) unit. StanChart mentioned in an email to Bloomberg that it has been collaborating closely with regulators to meet the demands of institutional clients for trading Ethereum and Bitcoin.

The action aligns with the bank’s broader strategy to assist clients throughout the digital asset environment, covering aspects such as interoperability, access, custody and tokenization.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved two crypto spot ETFs recently, which is a major step forward for the entire sector. The SEC initially approved Bitcoin spot ETFs, leading to a notable surge in BTC’s price, which soared to a peak of $73,000 following the approval. Standard Chartered highlighted that there has been an increasing demand from its clients for these cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocentric companies such as Coinbase, Ripple and Kraken already provide custody services to institutional customers for major cryptocurrencies. Other banks, including HSBC, have hinted at plans to introduce a tokenized securities cryptocurrency custody platform in an effort to take a bigger chunk of the market.

However, strict regulations have often hindered direct engagement with underlying digital assets. For instance, issues with profitability have arisen from regulatory challenges, such as the suggestion by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision to assign a risk rating of 1,250% for unhedged cryptocurrency exposure.

Nonetheless, StanChart has been involved in crypto investments for quite some time. The bank is a significant supporter of Zodia Custody, a crypto-asset custodian, and Zodia Markets, its exchange subsidiary. Additionally, it launched Libeara, a tokenization platform, in November 2023. The platform was designed to tokenize government bond funds utilizing the Singaporean dollar and has developed into a cornerstone of the bank’s Web3 initiatives.

StanChart stated in a February 2024 blog post that it believes stablecoins will play a significant role in financial services’ future and that digital assets will be a long-lasting part of that future. The bank’s market strategists also recently forecast that, should Trump win the U.S. presidential election, Bitcoin might rise to $150,000 by 2025. Moreover, it correctly predicted that Ethereum spot ETFs would be approved by the SEC.

Industry players such as HIVE Blockchain Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: HIVE) (TSX.V: HIVE) could be happy that major financial institutions including StanChart are becoming more involved in the crypto space since this conveys a message that the industry has hit mainstream.

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