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Standard Chartered, a large bank, recently announced its plans to open a cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage platform in the United Kingdom and Europe.

The ideas for crypto exchange and brokerage, according to Alex Manson, Head of SC Ventures, the firm’s innovation department, will be aimed at institutional clients.

“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. We are constructing the building blocks for a safe and reliable investment infrastructure,”

Manson stated.

Standard Chartered put the plans in action through a partnership with BC Technology Group, a Hong Kong-based corporation that already operates OSL, a digital assets platform regulated by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and the first of its kind.

The crypto platform from Standard Chartered will connect institutional traders with counterparties trading Bitcoin, Ethereum, and various other digital assets.

The platform is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of this year, with BC Group Chief Information Officer Usman Ahmad serving as CEO and SC Ventures’ Nick Philpott serving as COO.

Standard Chartered’s move toward establishing a crypto exchange and brokerage platform comes at a critical time, as global adoption and institutional demand for access and exposure to crypto continue to grow despite negative media attention and tightening regulations from countries such as China.

SC Ventures has partnered with Northern Trust to launch Zodia Custody, an institutional-grade custody solution for digital assets, prior to launching this new crypto exchange and brokerage platform. SC Ventures has also partnered with Metaco, a business orchestration platform, to invest in blockchain technologies.

In a project including research on distributed ledger interoperability to facilitate cross-border fund transfers, Standard Chartered’s innovation department cooperated with the Bank of Thailand and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

Standard Chartered’s proposal signals a growing interest in crypto from major banks as a mainstream institution. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and the Development Bank of Singapore are among the other large institutions that have announced their crypto strategy.

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