Southeast Asia’s largest bank, DBS Bank, plans to expand its offerings by creating an exchange for retail customers by the end of the year. This will allow it to meet a growing demand from locals by allowing them to have simplified access to cryptocurrencies. The platform is expected to be similar to Binance, but few details were leaked during the announcement made by the Singaporean bank’s CEO.
DBS Bank wants to expand its retail services
A few months after joining the board of Hedera Hashgraph (HBAR), DBS Bank announced that it wants to make it easier for Singaporeans to access cryptocurrencies.
Currently, individuals who wish to invest in crypto assets must do so over the phone by contacting their banker. DBS Bank, which has already developed a crypto-currency trading platform for institutional investors, is therefore now looking to extend this offer to a wider audience.
The announcement was made at a company earnings conference, during which Piyush Gupta, the bank’s CEO, said:
“We are starting the initial phase of work to expand [cryptocurrency services] beyond the current investor base.” He further added, “And that includes thinking appropriately about scalability and induced fraud potential. We’re looking at launching a project in the market by the end of the year.”
Also according to the announcement, the upcoming service is expected to be similar to a traditional exchange platform like Binance, i.e. available online and free to access. However, we don’t know yet if it will be possible to transfer funds from one wallet to another or if only the purchase of cryptocurrencies will be possible.
Singapore’s largest bank
DBS Bank, known as the safest bank in the entire Asian continent, has been around since 1968 and has established itself as the largest bank in Southeast Asia in terms of assets. In addition to being rooted in Asia, the bank also has offices internationally, including the United Kingdom and the United States.
In a bid not to miss out on the cryptocurrency bandwagon, the bank set up its own exchange called DBS Digital Exchange (DDEx) in December 2020, initially aimed at large corporations and SMEs to enable them to digitize their securities and assets. The platform also offers a fundraising system via security token offerings.
With this exchange platform, DBS Bank has been able to meet a local market demand for digital assets, resulting in a total exchange volume of more than $819 million in the year 2021.
“In the coming year, we will evolve our business to serve more clients by leveraging the digital asset ecosystem and investors already present at DBS. We also want to list more digital tokens and STOs (Security Token Offerings) for exchange,”said Lionel Lim, CEO of DBS Digital Exchange.
Indeed, supply appears to be growing, as the largest exchange volume was seen in the last quarter of the year, posting $595 million, more than double the previous three quarters.
However, this is in contrast to the licensing regime put in place by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which forced the Binance platform to shut down its Singapore branch. Also in an effort to curb cryptocurrency investments, Bitcoin ATMs were also banned last month within the island.