DBS Will Focus on Institutional Crypto Before Looking at Retail Trading Desk

CEO Piyush Gupta said that institutional and accredited crypto clients are the focus for now without entirely ruling out a retail crypto platform

Apr 29, 2022 at 7:20 a.m. UTC
Updated Apr 29, 2022 at 2:32 p.m. UTC

The CEO of Singapore's DBS Bank said in a recent earnings call that his bank’s focus is on expanding its crypto offerings to accredited and institutional investors and will consider opening up a retail line when regulators and the technology is ready.

  • During its previous earnings call in February, DBS said that it plans to launch a retail crypto trading desk by the end of 2022. However, in early April it did a complete flip on the plans citing regulatory worries.
  • CEO Piyush Gupta did not explicitly rule out the retail crypto plan and said the bank wants to focus on its accredited and institutional offerings in order to mature the technology and scale it.
  • “We already have a large, affluent, accredited investor crypto base that we can scale,” Gupta said during the call. “We won’t do any retail crypto in Singapore this year.” Gupta added that the technology to create a retail exchange is “taking a bit longer than expected.”
  • DBS’s current crypto offering is open to accredited investors in Singapore, which are defined as those that have SGD 2 million ($1.5 million) in assets.
  • Gupta said that during the last quarter trading activity "slowed a bit" but volume continues to grow. DBS' exchange now has almost SGD 1 billion ($724 million) worth of crypto in custody.
  • Singapore, with its population of 5.6 million, is home to over 526,000 people with a net worth of over $1 million and 4200 people that have a net worth of over $30 million.
  • While the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has created a licensing regime that is considered productive for institutional crypto, it is opposed to retail involvement in the asset class.
  • “We have taken quite a tough line on unfettered access to retail public because retail investors should not be dabbling in cryptocurrencies. Many global regulators share similar concerns about retail exposure to cryptocurrencies,” Ravi Menon, the MAS managing director, said during a recent event.
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