Crypto Trading Volume Revs Up at Singapore's DBS Bank

DBS Digital Exchange saw its – albeit modest – trading volume in Q4 2021 grow to $595.5 million, more than double the preceding three quarters.

AccessTimeIconFeb 11, 2022 at 5:49 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 7:12 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

One year in, the digital asset exchange launched by Singapore’s DBS Bank saw the first indication of exponential growth in the fourth quarter of 2021 when trading volume hit more than double the rest of the year combined.

That said, DBS Digital Exchange’s full-year trading volume for 2021 was about $819 million (S$1.1 billion), a mere fraction of day-to-day volumes of platforms like Binance or institution-focused LMAX Digital.

DBS’ 600-member exchange (which includes a central bank) is now seeing things ramp up after switching on 24/7 trading in August 2021, according to Lionel Lim, CEO of DBS Digital Exchange (DDEx). In the fourth quarter of 2021, trading volume was about $595.5 million (S$800 million), more than double the preceding three quarters.

Rather like Switzerland, Singapore has been nimble and innovative when it comes to integrating crypto into the financial fabric of the country. But the regulatory clarity that accompanies all this involves a high bar in terms of compliance, hence the decidedly measured approach.

Why it matters

The first (and only) bank to launch a digital asset exchange back in December 2020, Lim emphasized this first year has been about testing the infrastructure needed to start moving an entire digital asset ecosystem, rather than clocking up trading volume.

A main component of this vision is the concept of tokenized financial assets, such as shares in private companies or fractional ownership of real estate, complemented by crypto-to-fiat on-ramps and digital asset custody within DBS Bank itself.

“What we have really done here is try to digitalize the process of capital markets, right from origination, to settlement, custody and trading,” Lim said in an interview. “We want to scale this in an exponential way, but we have remained cognizant of the regulatory landscape around crypto.”

DDEx currently offers exchange services between four fiat currencies (Singapore dollars, U.S. dollars, Hong Kong dollars and Japanese yen) and four cryptocurrencies (BTC, ETH, BCH and XRP), with more coins and tokens to be added in 2022.

There will also be a measured expansion of tokenized issuances, following DDEx’s mid-2021 listing of its first security token offering in the form of a S$15 million digital bond. Now that a “well-oiled mechanism” is in place, there will be more security token offerings in the coming quarter and exploration of a broader client base, Lim said.

“We are toying with the idea of how we can serve a broader segment of customers down the road, to kind of move down to so-called middle-affluent people, potentially,” Lim said. “But of course we will approach this in a very measured manner.”

DBS Group Holdings Ltd. is scheduled to report full-year results on Monday.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Ian Allison

Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.

Read more about