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DBS chief casts doubt on retail crypto plans, citing regulators

(PHOTO: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg)
(PHOTO: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg) (Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg)

By Faris Mokhtar and Joanna Ossinger

(Bloomberg) —DBS Group Holdings Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Piyush Gupta said Singapore’s biggest bank won’t offer crypto trading for retail investors this year, citing technological challenges and resistance from regulators.

Gupta said during the bank’s results briefing on Friday that while he would have liked to start the service this year, it’s taking a “little bit longer than expected” to put the technology apparatus together. In addition, regulators aren’t comfortable with cryptocurrency trading for retail customers, he said. DBS currently offers crypto trading only for accredited investors.

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DBS will explore expanding crypto trading to retail investors in 2023 at the earliest, Gupta said.

Singapore’s central bank opposes retail crypto trading as too risky, a position Managing Director Ravi Menon reaffirmed this week. That stance, which prompted the Monetary Authority of Singapore to clamp down on crypto marketing this year, makes it tricky for companies to capitalise on investor enthusiasm in a country where an estimated four out of 10 people own digital assets.

Read more: Crypto ATMs Halted in Singapore After Marketing Clampdown

Some 40% of Singaporeans own at least one cryptocurrency, according to a study from crypto exchange Independent Reserve published Friday. Independent Reserve surveyed more than 1,500 residents in February.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.