Standard Chartered To Introduce London Spot BTC and Institutional ETH Trading Desk 

Standard Chartered is set to introduce the Spot BTC and ETH Trading Desk in response to growing institutional demand.

TakeAway Points:

  • Standard Chartered is opening a spot trading desk for Bitcoin and Ethereum in London.
  • Serving institutional client demand, the new desk will be a component of the bank’s FX trading operation.
  • By making this change, Standard Chartered will be among the first international banks to provide spot trading for cryptocurrencies.

Standard Chartered Begins Trading Cryptocurrencies Spot

Standard Chartered Plc is making a significant move into the cryptocurrency market by establishing a spot trading desk for Bitcoin and Ether. This new desk, based in London, will be part of the bank’s FX trading unit and is set to start operations soon, according to sources familiar with the matter. 

This development positions Standard Chartered as one of the first global banks to engage in spot cryptocurrency trading, a space traditionally dominated by crypto-native firms.

The bank’s foray into spot trading is a strategic response to growing institutional demand for direct exposure to digital assets. 

“We have been working closely with our regulators to support demand from our institutional clients to trade Bitcoin and Ethereum, in line with our strategy to support clients across the wider digital asset ecosystem, from access and custody to tokenization and interoperability,” Standard Chartered stated in an emailed response.

Standard Chartered’s involvement in the crypto space is not new. The bank is a backer of Zodia Custody and Zodia Markets, which provide digital asset custody and over-the-counter trading services, respectively. 

Additionally, the bank launched a blockchain unit called Libeara in November to help institutions tokenize traditional assets, including a tokenized government bond fund using the Singaporean dollar.

Adoption by Institutions and Regulatory Obstacles

The move by Standard Chartered highlights the increasing institutional adoption of cryptocurrencies. Other major banks, such as Goldman Sachs, have been trading cryptocurrency derivatives for years but have been restricted from dealing directly in the underlying assets due to stringent regulations. 

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has proposed a 1,250% risk weighting for any unhedged crypto exposure, making it challenging for banks to generate profits from direct crypto trading.

Despite these regulatory hurdles, Standard Chartered’s decision to enter the spot trading market underscores the growing acceptance and demand for digital assets among institutional investors. The bank’s strategy aligns with its broader goal of supporting clients across the digital asset ecosystem, from access and custody to tokenization and interoperability.

VanEck Launches its Bitcoin ETF in Australia

In a parallel development, VanEck’s spot Bitcoin ETF (VBTC) went live on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on Thursday. The ASX, which accounts for 90% of Australia’s equity market, approved the product listing earlier this week. 

VBTC rose 1% from its opening price to end the day at A$20.06 ($13.4) after trading 99,791 shares. The ETF is a feeder fund that provides exposure to Bitcoin by investing in the company’s Bitcoin Trust (HODL), a U.S. ETF listed on Cboe.

The launch of VBTC comes about six months after spot Bitcoin products were listed in the U.S. and about seven weeks after their debut in Hong Kong. However, VBTC is not the first Bitcoin ETF available to Australian investors. 

Monochrome Asset Management’s Monochrome Bitcoin ETF (IBTC), which holds Bitcoin directly, went live on June 4 on the Cboe Australia exchange. Since its launch, IBTC has traded an average of around 55,000 units a day on daily average cash volumes of about A$550,000.

Together, these two ETFs signal a growing wave of Bitcoin ETF offerings in Australia, reflecting the increasing demand for accessible cryptocurrency investment options.

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