Financial services company Standard Chartered is launching a digital asset brokerage and exchange platform.
The platform intended for U.K. and European institutional and corporate clients is a joint venture between SC Ventures and BC Group. SC Ventures is the innovation unit of Standard Chartered, while digital asset firm BC Group manages Hong Kong-licensed crypto exchange OSL.
The joint venture is still unnamed and its initiation remains subject to regulatory approval. The U.K.-based exchange, which will provide access to crypto markets for institutional traders, is set to launch in Q4 2021.
Burgeoning crypto markets
According to data collected by Standard Chartered, the total volume of trading on major exchanges averages over $4 billion per day. The data also reported over $1 trillion across all crypto assets. With the exchange, Standard Chartered intends to position itself within this growing market, particularly for institutional investors.
With this target segment in mind Standard Chartered hopes to rival American crypto exchanges Gemini, BitGo, and London-based LMAX Digital. It also joins investment banks Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and BNY Mellon among Wall Street names joining the action. Several of these lenders revealed plans to launch cryptocurrency trading desks for clients earlier this year.
JPMorgan already has a dedicated blockchain unit named Onyx, and is focusing on developing its own token JPM Coin. It is also leading a consortium featuring DBS and Temasek in launching an interbank payment network using blockchain technology.
StanCharts crypto moves
According to Alex Manson, head of SC Ventures, the new exchange’s goal is to enable wider adoption and trading of cryptocurrencies by “the world’s largest and most demanding of investors.” Manson added, “we have a strong conviction that digital assets are here to stay and will be adopted by the institutional market as a highly relevant asset class.” SC Ventures’ Nick Philpott will become the firm’s COO, while BC Group’s CIO Usman Ahmad will become its CEO.
Standard Chartered has already made some headway into cryptocurrencies. For instance, in December, it launched institutional custody service Zodia Custody through a strategic partnership with Northern Trust. Last July, it also took a stake in blockchain technology provider Metaco, blockchain-based cross-border money transfers with central banks in Thailand and Hong Kong.
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