Southeast Asia’s Largest Bank, DBS, Plans To Launch Crypto Trading Services

DBS Bank intends to launch a retail cryptocurrency trading desk after introducing a digital asset trading desk for major clients in 2021.

Southeast Asia’s Largest Bank, DBS, Plans To Launch Crypto Trading Services
Photo by International Finance

DBS Bank, Southeast Asia's largest bank by assets, plans to launch cryptocurrency trading services for retail clients by end of this year, after the implementation of a digital asset trading desk for institutions in late 2021. DBS CEO, Piyush Gupta, stated during the earning call of the bank's financial results for the fourth quarter of 2022 that the plans include an online platform that allows clients to make purchases for various digital assets, identical to how other crypto exchanges work.

"We've started doing the work on seeing how we get in a sensible way, take it out, and expand it beyond the current investor base. And that includes making sure we appropriate thinking about things like potential fraud and others," Gupta said during the call. "We should have something by the end of the year."

For the time being, the bank will focus on making it easier for clients to use its existing corporate-focused digital asset trading desk, with the goal of "expanding it beyond the current investor base" later this year. Clients of the DBS crypto trading desk, which include certain companies and accredited investors, must currently call the bank to place crypto trades over the phone. However, according to Gupta, the objective for this year is to make everything function online and allow clients to submit their own orders.

DBS issued a $15 million bond as a security token offering last year (STO). STOs are regulated token offers that are frequently referred to as "legal" initial coin offerings (ICOs). In Asia, this type of product has received little attention. According to some analysts, the fact that STOs must operate within the limits of a securities clearinghouse violates the concept of cryptocurrencies and therefore, will not spark investor interest.