Standard Chartered embraces bitcoin with new trading platform

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Standard Chartered PLC (LON:STAN) is to set up a cryptocurrency trading platform in the UK and Europe in a contrary stance to Asia- focused rival HSBC (LON:HSBA).

The venture will be aimed at institutions and be developed through a joint venture between its digital arm SC Ventures and BC Technology, which operates Hong Kong-licensed cryptocurrency exchange OSL.

Mainstream banks have so far been by and large reluctant to embrace cryptocurrencies fully given uncertainty over their volatility and uncertain regulatory status in key countries such as the US and UK.

Standard Chartered’s move though is one of the strongest moves into the arena and especially when compared with HSBC, which has no plans to establish a cryptocurrency platform or to sell them to clients chief executive Noel Quinn said last month.

Other banks, though, are starting to tailor strategies to deal with the boom in cryptocurrencies.

Goldman Sachs recently reopened its trading desk while JP Morgan said in April it was preparing a bitcoin fund in what was a 180-degree about-turn for its boss Jamie Dimon who had previously dubbed the currency a ‘fraud’.

Standard Chartered said the new platform will target the European market, connecting institutional traders with counterparties trading bitcoin, ether and other digital assets.

“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,” Alex Manson of SC Ventures said in a statement.

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