DBS Bank backs crypto amid worldwide crypto crash
ingapore's largest bank is set to offer its services through its official DBS mobile banking app. CEO expects 'better outcomes' with the move
By Shashank Bhardwaj
Image: Edgar Su/ Reuters
DBS Group Holdings, Singapore's largest bank, plans to offer bitcoin and crypto services to 300,000 of its wealthiest Asian customers. DBS wants to expand its existing digital asset exchange to these larger clients in particular. On digital exchanges, the bank currently has around 1,000 members. Piyush Gupta, DBS's CEO, stated that the crypto market downturn demonstrated that established and regulated financial institutions, rather than start-ups, should offer products like digital asset trading to retail investors.
In a public statement, he said, "On the one hand, we want to be a global crypto hub. On the other hand, we're also very worried about our domestic population getting burned with this speculative asset class."
The Monetary Authority of Singapore granted the bank's brokerage arm a crypto licence last year, granting institutional and wealthy clients invitation-only access to its DBS Digital Exchange. Gupta stated that the bank's crypto services would be available to DBS's 300,000 Asian clients. These will include private banks, accredited investors, other exchanges, and funds in the near future. The Monetary Authority of Singapore granted DBS's brokerage arm a crypto licence last year.
Since then, access to its digital exchange has been restricted to institutional and wealthy clients by invitation only. According to Gupta, the bank will provide services through its official DBS mobile banking app. He believes the app will make the process less clunky and faster for clients. It will also allow DBS to offer its services to more customers. DBS had total assets of S$686 billion (US$488 billion), according to a report published in December 2021.
While the bank confirmed that it would focus on growing its crypto exchange business in 2022, it hinted that retail investors would not be able to trade digital assets. The bank postponed plans to offer crypto trading to retail investors, citing technical difficulties and regulatory opposition. Gupta believes that the crypto market downturn demonstrated that well-established, regulated financial institutions, rather than startups, should offer digital asset products and services. He said, "People look to us to be a pioneer in the space and to continue to push boundaries."
He went on to say that these institutions are required to establish 'guardrails' that will lead to better outcomes. Gupta also revealed that about $1 billion was transferred from DBS's accounts to crypto exchanges before the bank opened its own exchange, which appears to be a very good reason for the bank's decision to open one.
The writer is the founder at yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist. Twitter: @bhardwajshash