DBS Plans to Launch Retail Digital Assets Trading Desk by Year End

DBS CEO Piyush Gupta says there’s a lot of work to be done, but the bank expects platform to be live by end of 2022.

AccessTimeIconFeb 14, 2022 at 8:11 a.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:58 p.m. UTC
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Singapore’s DBS Bank, which opened an institutional digital assets trading desk in early 2021, is planning on expanding its digital assets trading offerings to retail investors by the end of the year, its CEO said on an earnings call Monday.

  • “We are starting the initial work to expand it beyond the current investor base [of accredited investors],” CEO Piyush Gupta said during the call. “Lots of work to do with suitability and anti-fraud … we should have something by the end of the year.”
  • Gupta also said the bank will take the first half of the year to focus on making access to the digital assets trading desk more convenient for its existing customers. Currently, users need to call a banker to place an order for crypto over the phone. The plan, Gupta said, is to make it online and self-service.
  • DBS has yet to announce additional details about the platform, such as if you’d be able to transfer digital assets purchased on it to other providers or wallets.
  • The Monetary Authority of Singapore has a licensing regime in place for retail exchanges. In December, Binance withdrew its licensing application and recently shut down its local binance.sg exchange.
  • Recently, the bank expanded the trading hours of the desk to be 24/7 to match the tempo of crypto. Prior, trading was done on bankers’ hours within Singapore’s time zone.
  • In a recent interview with CoinDesk, Lionel Lim, CEO of DBS Digital Exchange (DDEx), said DBS Digital Exchange’s full-year trading volume for 2021 was about $819 million (S$1.1 billion).
  • In the last quarter of 2021, trading volume was approximately $595.5 million (S$800 million), which was over double the trading volume for the three prior quarters.
  • Last year DBS issued a $15 million bond as a security token offering. STOs are regulated token offerings.
  • This class of offering hasn’t attracted much attention in Asia. Some experts have said the nature of STOs needing to stay within the borders of a securities clearinghouse is antithetical to the idea of crypto and thus won’t attract much interest from investors.
  • Overall, DBS said its profit for the quarter was $1.03 billion (S$1.39 billion), up 37%, as the city-state aggressively reopens after the coronavirus shutdown.
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