DBS Singapore Announces Crypto Expansion for Wealthiest Clients

DBS, Singapore’s largest bank, announced that it will be expanding its cryptocurrency services to 300,000 of its more affluent clients in Asia.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore granted a cryptocurrency license to the brokerage arm of DBS Bank last year, allowing it to offer institutional and wealthy clients access to its DBS Digital Exchange.

While the exchange currently has around 1,000 members, DBS chief executive Piyush Gupta said the bank would soon offer the service through its DBS mobile banking app. This will enable access to 300,000 of its wealthy clients throughout Asia, which include private banks, accredited investors, as well as other exchanges and funds.

In addition to DBS being able to provide more for its customers, Gupta said the app will also make the process smoother and faster for clients.

DBS Digital Exchange trade doubles

DBS, Singapore’s largest bank with total assets of $686 billion (USD $488 billion) as of Dec 2021, relinquished around $1 billion to upstart crypto exchanges before launching its own, according to Gupta, CEO since 2009. 

Between April and June, the total number of trades on DBS Digital Exchange more than doubled, the quantity of Ethereum sold rose 65’%, while the total volume of Bitcoin traded on the platform nearly quadrupled.

Institutions lead to better outcomes

Gupta believes that the crypto market downturn demonstrated that well-established, regulated financial institutions should be offering digital asset products and services, rather than startups.

The chief executive said these institutions are necessary to establish “guardrails” that would lead to “better outcomes.”

“What we really need is some sort of check or driver’s license to ensure [retail investors] understand the risks,” said Zennon Kapron, director of Kapronasia, a financial technology research and consulting group. “Whether that comes from banks like DBS is another question.”

While Gupta has personally changed his view and believes DBS could safely and effectively provide crypto products and services to consumers, “regulators don’t necessarily see it that way,” he said. 

Despite its efforts to become a globally cryptocurrency hub, Singapore is also grappling with protecting investors in the face of several local high-profile collapses, such as Three Arrows and Terraform Labs. 

“On the one hand, we want to be a global crypto hub,” Gupta said. “On the other hand, we’re also very worried about our domestic population getting burned with this speculative asset class,” he added.

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