Standard Chartered Targeting Institutional Clients in Britain & Europe for its Crypto Exchange

Head of the bank's technology arm has a “strong conviction that digital assets are here to stay and will be adopted by the institutional market as a highly relevant asset class.”


Standard Chartered is the latest bank to set up a joint venture to allow buying and selling cryptocurrencies just days after its biggest rival, HSBC Holdings, said it wouldn’t offer crypto trading services due to its volatility.

The idea is to establish a cryptocurrency brokerage and exchange platform in Britain and Europe, targeting institutional clients.

For this, the London-headquartered bank said on Wednesday that its technology arm, SC Ventures, would partner with BC Technology Group Ltd., which operates Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency investment platform OSL, which was the first crypto exchange to be licensed by the Securities and Futures Commission.

Alex Manson, head of SC Ventures, said he had a “strong conviction that digital assets are here to stay and will be adopted by the institutional market as a highly relevant asset class.”

“We are constructing the building blocks for a safe and reliable investment infrastructure.”

This new partnership will be based in the UK and target the European market. To be opened in the fourth quarter, the bank will offer trading in cryptos, including Bitcoin and Ethereum.

This year, more and more banking giants have been taking a special interest in cryptocurrencies, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, BNY Mellon, and many others.

Everyone has been slowly coming around; even JPMorgan is planning to offer Bitcoin funds to its wealthy clients. This has been despite its CEO Jamie Dimon calling Bitcoin “fraud” in 2017.

“A lot of our clients are asking, ‘can we help them buy or sell cryptocurrency?’ we're investing in that as we speak,” said Dimon at the bank's annual shareholder meeting on May 18.

Recently, in congressional testimony to the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, Dimon personally advised to “stay away” from Bitcoin, adding, “That does not mean the clients don't want it.”

“I don't tell people how to spend their money, regardless of how I might personally feel about something,” Dimon told Congress. He also suggested a more rigid regulatory framework for the asset class. While criticizing regulators for being “a day late and a dollar short,” he speculated that the government would “pay a lot more attention” in the future.

“Buyers beware,” he added in reference to cryptos and not blockchains or stablecoins.

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