The largest bank in Southeast Asia is launching a crypto trading service for retail customers this year

The largest bank in Southeast Asia is launching a crypto trading service for retail customers this year
DBS building in the Marina Bay Financial Centre in Singapore on June 19, 2020.Roslan Rahman/AFP via Getty Images
  • DBS Bank is planning to launch crypto trading services for retail clients this year.
  • The bank launched a digital asset trading desk for institutional clients in late 2021.

DBS Bank, the largest bank in Southeast Asia by assets, is planning to launch cryptocurrency trading services for retail clients this year, expanding into the space following its launch of an institutional digital asset trading desk in late 2021.

DBS Bank CEO Piyush Gupta during the bank's fourth-quarter earnings call Monday said there is a roadmap in place though declined to give further specifics.

"We've started doing the work on seeing how we get in a sensible way, take it out, and expand it beyond the current investor base. And that includes making sure we appropriate thinking about things like potential fraud and others," Gupta said during the call. "We should have something by the end of the year."

Gupta, who has led the bank since 2009, also said he expects DBS Bank to improve its digital asset trading platform to "make the access to the digital assets a lot more convenient."

This means allowing online deposits to operate more quickly and more seamlessly with minimal intermediaries. The bank's current workflow requires customers to call bankers to place orders within Singapore's timezone.


"What happens is that you've got 24/7, but the customers still need to call and speak to bankers," Gupta said. "So the first order is to make it all online, make it self-service, make it instant, and make sure the internal processes are robust to be able to support that."

DBS Bank, which reported a net profit increase of 37% to $1.03 billion from October to December, has been deepening its presence in the crypto space.

The bank in December 2020 established a crypto exchange division called DBS Digital Exchange, backed by SGX, Singapore's largest derivatives and asset exchange. CoinDesk reported that the exchange notched full-year trading volume of about $819 million for 2021.

The development of DBS Bank comes as authorities in Singapore clamp down on crypto trading.

The Singapore affiliate of Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, in December 2021 said it will withdraw its local license application and wind down its digital payment token business in the broadly crypto-friendly city-state.