StanChart unit to launch cryptocurrency trading platform

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Standard Chartered is displayed at its main branch in Hong Kong

By Alun John and Lawrence White

HONG KONG/LONDON (Reuters) -A Standard Chartered PLC unit intends to establish a cryptocurrency brokerage and exchange platform in Britain and Europe, targeting institutional clients, the bank said on Wednesday.

The new exchange will be created by a joint venture between SC Ventures, the bank’s innovation arm, and BC Technology Group, which operates Hong Kong-licensed cryptocurrency exchange OSL.

The move from Asia, Africa and Middle East-focused StanChart is one of the strongest endorsements yet from a mainstream lender for cryptocurrencies, as global banks juggle clients’ interest in the digital coins with concerns about their risks.

StanChart’s new platform will target the European market, connecting institutional traders with counterparties trading bitcoin, ether and other digital assets, the bank said.

The move marks a contrast with StanChart rival HSBC, whose chief executive told Reuters last month the bank has no plans to launch a trading desk for cryptocurrencies.

“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,” said Alex Manson of SC Ventures.

OSL was the first cryptoexchange to be licensed by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission.

(Reporting by Alun John in Hong Kong and Lawrence White in London; Editing by Jason Neely and Jan Harvey)