BBVA and Standard Chartered playing with fire? Banks begin trading and custody of cryptocurrency

Three years ago, many FX brokers caught a nasty cold by offering crypto CFDs. Now the Tier 1 banks are going down the same route

BBVA’s Swiss unit is preparing to launch a service for the trading and custody of digital assets, beginning with bitcoin.

The Spanish giant says it is launching the service in response to growing demand from investors who are already working with digital currencies but through fintechs and other startups.

It will enter the fray in January, offering all the guarantees of any other banking service. While initially sticking to bitcoin, other digital assets will be offered over time.

BBVA says it has chosen to launch in Switzerland because the country is “the most advanced European country in terms of regulation and adoption of digital assets”.

Alicia Pertusa, head, client solutions strategy, BBVA, says: “Digital assets have enormous potential to transform the way value and information are exchanged through blockchain technology.

“Financial institutions, in collaboration with supervisors, can play a relevant role in the integration of digital assets in current markets and infrastructures.”

Meanwhile, the innovation and ventures unit of Standard Chartered and Northern Trust have entered into an agreement to launch Zodia Custody, an institutional-grade custody solution for cryptocurrencies.

At launch, pending regulatory approval, Zodia will provide custody services for the most-traded cryptocurrency assets – bitcoin, ethereum, followed by XRP, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash.

Maxime De Guillebon, CEO, Zodia, says: “”We combine the risk management, compliance, governance and security approach of a regulated financial institution with the cutting-edge innovation of crypto asset and key management technologies.”

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