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Standard Chartered Bank To Launch Crypto Trading Desk

British bank Standard Chartered (STAN) plans to launch a trading desk for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

The new crypto desk is expected to be operational this summer and will be part of the bank’s FX trading unit. It will be run out of the lender’s global headquarters in London, England.

While some banks trade cryptocurrency derivatives most have avoided dealing directly with the digital assets due to the exorbitant expense involved.

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has ruled that banks must apply a 1,250% risk premium to any unhedged cryptocurrency assets, making it difficult to generate profits.

Standard Chartered is one of many banks that is expanding deeper into cryptocurrencies as institutional acceptance and adoption of the asset class grows worldwide.

Late last year, Standard Chartered launched a blockchain unit called “Libeara” to help institutions tokenize traditional assets.

Lenders have also been encouraged by the popularity of spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that have begun trading this year in the U.S., Australia and Hong Kong.

Standard Chartered is preparing to launch its crypto trading desk as prices slump. Bitcoin is currently trading at $63,700 U.S., down nearly 10% in the last month.

However, Bitcoin’s price remains up 44% on the year and has doubled over the past 12 months.