Standard Chartered to launch UK-based cryptocurrency exchange
Standard Chartered has announced plans to establish a UK-based cryptocurrency brokerage and exchange for institutional and corporate clients in the UK and Europe.
The bank’s technology arm, SC Ventures, has partnered with Hong Kong-based investment company BC Technology Group, Asia’s leading digital asset company and parent of Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC)-licensed digital-asset platform OSL.
The new platform will allow clients to trade popular digital currencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum and will be launched in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals.
BC Group chief information officer Usman Ahmad will be CEO of the new company, and Nick Philpott of SC Ventures will be COO.
The joint venture will be underpinned by BC Group’s leading OSL digital-asset technology and Standard Chartered’s global network and experience in brokerage and providing access to European markets.
CEO of BC Group’s OSL platform, Wayne Trench, says: “We’re thrilled to enter into this partnership to make secure and compliant digital asset trading more accessible to institutional investors in Europe.
“Standard Chartered and SC Ventures are known globally as leaders in fintech innovation and banking, and the partnership fits with our geographical expansion and growth strategy as it allows OSL to rapidly enter the European market with a leading partner.”
The move is the biggest signifier yet of mainstream banks easing their stance on cryptocurrency, which has seen a huge boost in popularity over the last year.
Head of SC Ventures, Alex Manson, adds: “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.”
By contrast, the news comes hot on the heels of HSBC chief executive, Noel Quinn, revealing his bank has no plans to launch a cryptocurrency trading desk or offer digital coins as an investment to customers because they are too volatile and lack transparency.
Quinn’s comments were the latest in a wave of rejections for cryptocurrencies which included China’s recent crackdown and Tesla’s u-turn on accepting Bitcoin as payment.