Singapore government-owned megabank DBS has seen a significant increase in trading volumes and clients for its institutional crypto trading platform, DBS Digital Exchange. In 2022, the number of DBS crypto clients more than doubled compared to the previous year, with Bitcoin trading volumes growing by 80%. According to Lionel Lim, CEO of DBS Digital Exchange, the increase in demand for crypto services at the exchange is a result of several exchange collapses in 2022.
DBS Digital Exchange was launched in 2020 and exclusively serves institutional investors. The bank had considered expanding services to retail customers last year but has remained a members-only exchange as of May 2023, according to Lim. Despite this, the bank’s head of digital assets, Evy Theunis, noted that DBS has seen more cooperation inquiries from digital asset and blockchain firms in recent months.
DBS seems to be fond of the crypto sector, with investment strategist Daryl Ho highlighting Bitcoin’s relevance in present times, as reported by Todayq news in October 2022. Ho pointed out that Bitcoin’s uniqueness is not affected by its price but rather by its utility, which allows for decentralized value transfers without the need for a central counterparty to clear the trade.
DBS is a crypto-friendly bank but is not worried about any risks allegedly stemming from its crypto exposure. Lim assured that the bank does not rehypothecate or trade digital assets in clients’ custody, so there is no liquidity risk. “Our clients’ digital assets are in custody with DBS Bank, separate from DBS Digital Exchange,” Lim noted.
The Singaporean banking giant seems to have benefited from the crypto industry’s volatility, attracting more clients to its digital exchange. The bank remains committed to serving institutional investors, but with more cooperation inquiries from digital asset and blockchain firms, DBS may consider expanding its services in the future.