British multinational banking and financial services company Standard Chartered has announced that it will be launching a new business focused on buying and selling cryptocurrencies.
According to a Bloomberg report today, the new business will be headed by the bank’s technology unit, Standard Chartered Ventures bank, and has partnered with Hong Kong-based digital asset investment company BC Technology Group Ltd, for the initiative.
The business is expected to commence operations in Q4 2021, with its headquarters located in the U.K. to service institutional clients in the region and the broader European market, the report added.
Notably, the Standard Chartered crypto trading business will offer institutional clients in the U.K. and Europe the opportunity to buy and sell popular cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).
Commenting on the development, Alex Manson, head of Standard Chartered Ventures, said the firm is delving into the crypto business because of its conviction that cryptocurrencies are here to stay.
Manson continued that the bank believes cryptocurrencies will be widely adopted by institutional investors as an important asset class going forward, adding:
We are constructing the building blocks for a safe and reliable investment infrastructure.
The move comes less than a year after Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters said cryptocurrencies will play an important role in the evolution of the global payment system.
Volatile Yet Attractive
Cryptocurrencies have gathered a lot of momentum in recent times among notable firms, including financial institutions that never wanted to have anything to do with them in the past.
Although the asset class is volatile, it has not deterred retail and institutional investors from investing in them.
Crypto interest has constantly increased as investors hope to use it as a hedge against inflation since the peak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
It is worth noting that people are gradually losing faith in the traditional financial system, prompting financial institution customers to demand that crypto trading services should be provided.
Even as major cryptocurrencies plummeted by up to 50% last month, interest in cryptos has continued to soar.
Banks believe that whether they join the crypto bandwagon or not, customers who want to invest in the asset will always find their way to make the investments.
Based on this, they hope to retain a majority of their wealthy customers by also offering crypto investments in order to cater for people’s needs who may need the service.
Standard Chartered is not the only popular traditional financial institution that is delving into crypto investments.
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Author: Lele Jima