DBS Bank to Expand Crypto Services to Hong Kong

As Hong Kong strives to become a center for digital assets, the Singaporean megabank DBS Group, which is wholly controlled by the Singaporean government, is making plans to extend its cryptocurrency services to the Chinese territory.

According to a report from Bloomberg dated February 13, DBS Bank intends to submit an application for a license that would enable it to provide cryptocurrency trading services to clients in Hong Kong.

Sebastian Paredes, the CEO of DBS Bank Hong Kong, said that the company intends to submit an application for a license in Hong Kong so that the bank will be able to offer digital assets to clients located in Hong Kong.

According to Paredes, DBS is “extremely sensitive” to the dangers that are involved with digital assets, but the company is excited about the newly proposed crypto-related rules in Hong Kong. Once the legislation have been clarified in their entirety and DBS “understands properly the framework,” the bank is ready to become one of the first lenders in Hong Kong to provide cryptocurrency services, as he said.

A few years ago, DBS Bank took a significant leap into the cryptocurrency business by announcing plans to create an institutional cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore around the end of the year 2020. Additionally, the business has been aiming to broaden the accessibility of its cryptocurrency platform to retail investors and has been using decentralized financial technology to collaborative initiatives with the central bank of Singapore.

The announcement comes shortly after DBS revealed that its annual net profit had increased by 20%, reaching a record 8.19 billion Singaporean dollars (SGD), which is equivalent to $6.7 billion in the United States.

The total revenue rose by 16% to 16.5 billion Singapore dollars, which is equivalent to $12.4 billion, surpassing 16 billion Singapore dollars for the first time in history.

In the midst of China’s special administrative region continuing to reiterate its pro-crypto position, DBS Bank has announced ambitions to extend its operations to Hong Kong. Paul Chan, the finance secretary of Hong Kong, made the announcement in January that the Hong Kong government is open to working with crypto and fintech businesses in 2023. The official also said that a large number of companies in the sector have indicated their intentions to either extend their operations in Hong Kong or to go public on the local markets.

According to earlier reports, the legislature of Hong Kong has enacted legislation that would result in the establishment of a licensing system for virtual asset service providers in the month of December 2022. The new regulatory framework is being developed with the intention of giving cryptocurrency exchanges the same level of market recognition that conventional financial institutions are now afforded by the existing regulatory system.

Singapore has adopted a more rigorous approach to the cryptocurrency business in the wake of big industry failures in 2022. This comes at a time when Hong Kong authorities have been gradually relaxing their stance on cryptocurrencies in recent months. Following the failure of the Singaporean cryptocurrency hedge fund Three Arrows Capital in September, the Monetary Authority of Singapore introduced legislation in October to prohibit all types of bitcoin loans.


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DBS Bank Says Its Bitcoin Trading Surged Amid Global Market Crash

DBS Group Holdings announced on Tuesday that Bitcoin trades on its digital exchange more than doubled in June from the two previous months.

The multinational bank said its Bitcoin purchases accounted for 90% of the crypto trading activities in contrast to a massive digital asset market downturn globally.

Southeast Asia’s largest lender said the quantity of Bitcoin purchased on the members-only exchange was four times higher than the amount witnessed in April. DBS, however, did not provide numbers for other months.

Lionel Lim, the CEO of DBS Digital Exchange, talked about the development: “Investors today are instead seeking out safe harbours to trade and store their digital assets amid the ongoing market volatility.”

Since May, crypto prices have dropped drastically when the collapse of Terra Luna stablecoin triggered a wave of liquidations, bankruptcies, and layoffs in the industry.

DBS, the largest bank in Singapore, has witnessed strong traction in its digital exchange, which serves institutional investors and family offices.

Singapore Risking Its Crypto Hub Future

In February, DBS Bank announced plans to expand its cryptocurrency exchange beyond its current investor base of institutional clients.

While the bank affirmed that it would focus on expanding the scale of its crypto exchange operations in 2022, it hinted that it would not be able to roll out digital asset trading to retail investors.

The bank postponed its plans to offer crypto trading for retail investors, citing technological challenges and resistance from regulators.

DBS launched the digital exchange in December 2020.

While Singapore describes itself as a crypto’s natural home in Asia, it has continued to send mixed messages about its stance toward the digital currency businesses it has nurtured.

In July, the chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced plans by Singapore’s Central Bank to carefully consider establishing rules to limit retail investing and the “use of leverage” in cryptocurrency investing in the city-state.

In June, Sopnendu Mohanty, the MAS’s chief fintech officer, also pledged a “brutal and unrelenting” crackdown against misbehaving crypto companies.

Singapore is walking a fine line between developing a crypto hub in which innovations can flourish and protecting retail investors from volatility associated with crypto markets.

Image source: Shutterstock


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DBS Bank joins Hedera blockchain’s governing council

The Hedera Governing Council has welcomed Singapore’s oldest bank, DBS Bank, as its newest member, making it the first Southeast Asian lender to join the worldwide Hyperledger organization.

DBS Bank, a member of the advisory council on fintech, has joined the blockchain council alongside 39 other major technology, corporate and nonprofit leaders, including Google, IBM, Boeing, Deutsche Telekom, the University of London, Dentons and LG Electronics, among others.

The Asian lender may acquire value from Hedera’s innovative enterprise blockchain platform while also influencing it by providing input on real-world business needs.

Council members are allotted three years to serve, extendible for two terms. Members have equal voting power on network upgrades, stability and decentralized growth issues. The council also participates in the Hedera Testnet, a free testing environment that allows development teams to test the network’s capabilities.

The DBS has played an important role in the development of Singapore’s cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. Last year, the bank debuted a blockchain-powered digital asset ecosystem for corporate customers. DBS has a record of working with distributed ledger technology on the DBS Trade Finance Platform and also collaborated with Contour, Trusple and others.

DBS also co-founded a blockchain-based carbon trading network together with SGX, Standard Chartered and Temasek. As reported by Cointelegraph, the Monetary Authority of Singapore gave DBS’ brokerage arm, DBS Vickers, a license to operate crypto payment services.

DBS Bank is Singapore’s largest bank by assets and deposits, as well as South Asia’s biggest bank in terms of market capitalization. With over 9 million customers across 18 markets, DBS has a significant presence in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and China. The bank wants to use its membership to further explore the emerging possibilities opened up by blockchain technology.