DBS Bank Reports 80% Growth in Bitcoin Traded in 2022

The DBS Digital Exchange hopes to bring its security token offerings back this year

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Singapore’s DBS Bank observed an 80% year-over-year increase in bitcoin traded on its members-only digital asset exchange in 2022, the firm reported Wednesday. 

The DBS Digital Exchange, known as DDEx, is open to select accredited investors, financial institutions, and family offices. The exchange does not have services for retail investors. Despite unfavorable market conditions, in the second half of 2022, the DDEx reported a net buy position for all customers, the bank said. 

DDEx became Southeast Asia’s first institutional-run digital assets exchange when it launched in 2020. In August 2021, the exchange had roughly 400 institutional clients who completed around $133 million in transactions in the third quarter of 2021. Today, DDEx reports approximately 1,200 registered clients

DBS historically has offered digital asset exposure through cryptocurrencies and security token offerings (STOs), although the bank has paused the latter for the time being. 

“In 2022, we saw growing interest from our corporate clients and were actively working towards converting a number of enquiries into STOs,” Lionel Lim, CEO of DDEx, said in a statement. “However, these were put on hold given the market volatility as well as macroeconomic uncertainty. We will continue to work with these potential issuers as well as explore origination opportunities for high quality STO listings in 2023.”

The news comes as crypto companies around the world brace for stricter regulations following last year’s slew of bankruptcies and implosions, from FTX and Celsius to Three Arrows Capital. Fear of contagion and the speculative nature of crypto markets rocked investors and lawmakers, but DDEx is starting to see a positive turn in sentiment. 

“We believe that the market has decisively shifted its focus towards trust and stability especially in the wake of multiple scandals that have rocked the industry,” Lim said. 

DBS follows “industry best practices” when it comes to security and compliance, Lim said. DDEx does not custody any assets; all are held separately within the bank “using institutional-grade cold wallets,” he said. The bank and exchange are also up to date with anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) standards, they said in the statement.


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