The Big Banks Riding Bitcoins Bull Run

Thursday 17 December 2020, 6:14 AM AEST - 2 months ago

Traditional banks are now taking the plunge and coming out with crypto-related services. The shift coincides with bitcoins price hitting all-time highs in December.

Banks may have been looking closely at digital assets for some time now, but have been skittish about saying anything in public. Now they appear to be joining a general shift towards crypto in the latter half of 2020 that has included payments giant PayPal (PYPL) and hedge fund mavens including Paul Tudor Jones and Stanley Druckenmiller.

Starting with technologically advanced Switzerland and Singapore, where some of the first big moves are happening, the industry is seeing a growing list of lenders leaning towards crypto.

DBS Bank of Singapore recently announced its crypto trading and custody platform (which is 10%-owned by the national stock exchange SGX) was ready to go live, making it a frontrunner.

The same week DBS made its announcement, Swiss digital exchange SDX said it was partnering with Japanese bank SBI Holdings, to build a digital asset exchange in Singapore, although that wont be ready until early 2022, the firms said.

An important milestone in October was Gazprombank, a subsidiary of the Russian energy conglomerate, going live with crypto custody in Switzerland. The bank used institution-focused custody tech from Swiss firm METACO, which is working closely with core banking software vendor Avaloq.

It later emerged Spanish bank BBVA will also be basing crypto operations out of Switzerland, and using METACOs custody tech. BBVA declined to comment on the plans, which sources said would be ready in January 2021.

Another leading bank to emerge from the bushes is London-headquartered Standard Chartered, which announced a crypto custody partnership with U.S.-based Northern Trust.

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