British multinational bank Standard Chartered is creating a Bitcoin and Ethereum trading desk in London, according to a report from Bloomberg.

This will make it one of the first global banks to enter spot crypto trading, in the wake of spot Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs being approved in the U.S.. Standard Chartered’s new crypto desk will begin trading soon, two people told the outlet, and will be part of the Forex trading unit.

“We have been working closely with our regulators to support demand from our institutional clients to trade Bitcoin and Ethereum, in line with our strategy to support clients across the wider digital asset ecosystem, from access and custody to tokenization and interoperability,” Standard Chartered told Decrypt, echoing the statement it made to Bloomberg.

But Standard Chartered declined to respond to Decrypt’s request for further comment.


The bank part-owns institutional crypto custodian Zodia Custody and has backed institutional digital asset trading firm Zodia Markets. Now setting up its own spot crypto trading desk shows clear intention to move deeper into the world of digital assets, after dipping its toes through investment.

Other banks have traded crypto before, but due to regulation they have had to trade in derivatives rather than the actual asset itself. For example, Goldman Sachs began trading Bitcoin futures in 2020, then opened its Bitcoin derivative trading desk in 2021.

The Basel Committee, an organization that sets global standards for banks, recommended in a 2022 report that banks should apply a 1,250% risk weighting when trading crypto assets. This term refers to the amount of capital a bank should have in reserve to counter the risk of the investment. Industry experts have noted that this incredibly high weighting makes it hard for banks to turn a profit on crypto trading.

Standard Chartered has been bullish on crypto recently. In May, it predicted Bitcoin and Ethereum to hit all-time highs after spot Ethereum ETFs were approved in the U.S.. Soon, the bank predicted that Solana and XRP ETFs would be next to be approved in the States.


“Albeit this is likely a 2025 story not a 2024 one,” Geoffrey Kendrick, Standard Chartered’s head of crypto research and emerging market foreign currencies, said.

Edited by Stacy Elliott.

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