Standard Chartered Joins Crypto Rush, Days After HSBC Opts Out

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Standard Chartered Plc is setting up a joint venture to buy and sell virtual currencies such as Bitcoin -- days after its biggest rival HSBC Holdings Plc said it would swerve the crypto trading craze.

The London-headquartered bank said Wednesday its technology arm, SC Ventures, would establish a partnership with BC Technology Group Ltd., a Hong Kong-based investment company specializing in digital assets.

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

“We are constructing the building blocks for a safe and reliable investment infrastructure,” Manson said.

The bank’s new partnership will be based in the U.K. and target the European market, helping institutional traders find counterparties. It will offer trading in virtual currencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum, and opens for business in the fourth quarter.

By contrast, HSBC Chief Executive Officer Noel Quinn said last week that his firm would not offer virtual currencies to clients given its volatility.

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