Standard Chartered’s innovation arm, SC Ventures, has formed a joint venture with BC Technology Group, which operates Hong Kong-licensed crypto exchange OSL, to offer digital asset brokerage and exchange services in the United Kingdom and Europe.

The platform is planned to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2021 and will only target only institutional and corporate clients.

The official press release detailed that the entity will be based in the United Kingdom and will initially target the European markets. It will connect institutional traders to counterparties trading in several digital assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

“We have a strong conviction that digital assets are here to stay and will be adopted by the institutional market as a highly relevant asset class,” said SC Ventures’ Alex Manson.

The European venture will utilize Standard Chartered’s global network and experience in brokerage to provide market access to clients, while BC Group will be the underlying technology provider.

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The institutional trading venue has also chosen Zodia Custody, which is another collaborative entity between Standard Chartered and Chicago-based Northern Trust, for safekeeping of the digital assets.

“Standard Chartered and SC Ventures are known globally as leaders in fintech innovation and banking, and the partnership fits with our geographical expansion and growth strategy as it allows OSL to rapidly enter the European market with a leading partner,” Wayne Trench, chief executive of the OSL exchange, added.

The joint venture will be headed by BC Group Chief Information Officer Usman Ahmad as the chief executive officer, while SC Ventures’ Nick Philpott will be the COO.

The Biggest Institutional Push to Crypto

Standard Chartered is one of the mainstream lenders that became extremely involved with cryptocurrencies over the years. It is offering crypto custody services and is also working on other blockchain fronts.

Earlier, Singapore-based DBS started to offer a similar cryptocurrency exchange in Asia. Many other top global lenders are also offering some kind of crypto exposure to wealthy clients. However, few banks like HSBC are still repellent towards digital assets.

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