Yesterday Singapore’s largest bank DBS temporarily unveiled a web page revealing a planned digital asset exchange trading cryptocurrencies, with support for security token offerings in the near future. The page was removed but is available in an archive.
However, the plan is not for a retail offering but to provide institutional services. It explicitly states that only financial institutions and professional market makers will be considered as members. It also says individuals need to go via an institution such as DBS Private Bank. But in a slight contradiction and a sign that the page is a work in progress, it also states that family offices and accredited investors can email to apply for membership.
The web page reveals that the DBS Digital Exchange plans to support four cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, and XRP, and four fiat currencies, USD, SGD, YEN, HKD.
DBS highlights that its solution doesn’t require stablecoins like Tether to trade. The latter is the controversial stablecoin, which is neither algorithmic nor fully backed by deposits.
The bank touts its ability to provide institutional-grade security. It says that it has “deployed DBS Digital Custody, an institutional-grade custody solution specially tailored for safekeeping digital assets.”
The offering plans to be regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) but is not as yet. Hence the disappearing page.
One of the most curious features is its trading hours. A key benefit of blockchains is 24/7 trading, but DBS shows its banking heritage by advertising trading hours between 9am and 4pm. However, it states that these hours could be reviewed after launch.
A couple of months ago, the bank published a report about digital currencies, which said that central banks are no longer dismissive of digital currencies.
DBS was one of the early banks to embrace blockchain in earnest for trade finance. It was one of the first significant users of the local platform dltledgers, which has recorded more than $3 billion in trades.
It’s also a member of two blockchain consortia Marco Polo and Contour, as well as the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s eTradeConnect. Plus, it developed a supply chain finance solution for Chinese SMEs. Last year it was one of the first organizations involved in the ICC Tradeflow platform based in Singapore.