Standard Chartered’s Dubai Entry: Crypto Custody Service for Institutional Clients

  • Standard Chartered will introduce a crypto custody service for institutional clients in Dubai in early 2024, managed by Zodia Custody.
  • The move follows an MoU with the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and favorable regulatory conditions in the UAE.
  • This expansion underscores the growing crypto acceptance in traditional financial institutions and the attractiveness of the UAE for crypto ventures.

Institutional-Focused Crypto Custody by Standard Chartered

In a groundbreaking move, Standard Chartered PLC (LSE: STAN) is set to introduce a cryptocurrency custody service catering to institutional clients. The service is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2024, with Zodia Custody, a leading digital asset custodian affiliated with Standard Chartered, taking the reins.

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A Legacy in the UAE

Standard Chartered’s roots in the UAE trace back to 1958 when it opened its inaugural branch in Sharjah. Over the years, the institution’s presence grew, culminating in it becoming the first bank within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) to own its premises in 2006. Today, Dubai serves as the regional hub for Standard Chartered in the Africa and Middle East region.

MoU with DIFC Spurs Crypto Endeavors

Standard Chartered’s move into the crypto custody sector follows a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed earlier in the year with the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). This MoU set the stage for cooperation in digital assets and digital asset custody. Now, with the requisite regulatory approvals in hand, the official announcement of the crypto custody service is official, complete with a specified timeline.

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Innovative Strategy for Network Effect

Waqar Chaudry, the Executive Director of Innovation at Standard Chartered, elaborates on the institution’s innovative strategy for network expansion. By leveraging their existing infrastructure and service capabilities, Standard Chartered aims to establish a robust network effect in the crypto market.

Zodia Custody’s Role

The crypto custody service will be managed by Zodia Custody, recognized as a leading institution-first digital asset custodian by Standard Chartered. Zodia Custody has received In-Principle Approval (IPA) to operate as a cryptocurrency broker-dealer in Abu Dhabi’s over-the-counter (OTC) market.

UAE’s Favorable Crypto Environment

One of the driving forces behind Standard Chartered’s decision to launch its crypto custody service in the UAE is the shifting regulatory landscape in the United States. With increasing scrutiny and regulation in the US, many crypto companies are exploring more accommodating regions. The UAE has maintained a conducive environment for digital asset industry growth, backed by its UAE Blockchain Strategy 2021 and a balanced regulatory approach.

Global Expansion Beckons

With regulatory approval in the UAE, Standard Chartered is poised to offer its crypto custody services globally, solidifying its presence in the cryptocurrency space. This move underscores the growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies within traditional financial institutions and highlights the UAE as an emerging crypto-friendly hub.

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