By Bilal Jafar

Of Financial News

Standard Chartered is set to become one of the first international banks to enter the spot crypto trading market as the bank readies its trading desk for the emerging asset class.

The new London-based crypto trading desk, which will be part of Standard Chartered's FX trading unit, will trade bitcoin and ether, the world's top two crypto assets by market capitalization, Bloomberg reported.

Bitcoin has a market capitalization of $1.2 trillion, while ether's market value stands at around $428 billion, according to Coinmarketcap.

Standard Chartered's spot crypto trading desk to trade bitcoin and ether won't be the firm's first foray into the multi-trillion dollar emerging asset class. The firm backed the launch of Zodia Markets, a crypto exchange and a brokerage platform, in 2021.

Standard Chartered also has a stake in crypto custodian Zodia Custody.

Institutional interest in spot crypto trading has jumped after the SEC's approval of spot bitcoin ETFs in January. Some of the world's largest hedge funds, including Izzy Englander's Millennium Management and Paul Singer's Elliott Management started buying spot bitcoin ETFs in the first quarter.

Banks weren't far behind in the bitcoin ETF mania. Morgan Stanley owned roughly $270 million in bitcoin ETFs as of March 31, CoinDesk reported.

Standard Chartered said that the firm is working closely with regulators to support demand from institutional clients to trade bitcoin and ether.

Nomura is another banking giant that has been betting big on crypto for years. The bank established crypto trading and asset management firm Laser Digital in September 2022. Nomura appointed its chief digital officer Jez Mohideen as the CEO of Laser Digital.

Nomura also established crypto custodian Komainu as a joint venture in 2018 with CoinShares and Ledger.

Financial News is owned by News Corp, the parent company of The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires.


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

06-21-24 0848ET