Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC Bank) could soon make an entry into the cryptocurrency industry according to a recent revelation by its CEO Helen Wong.
Speaking on Friday in an exclusive interview with Bloomberg, Wong disclosed that the Bank was closely studying cryptocurrencies. She noted that although they were not in a hurry to accommodate digital assets, it was a new area that could no longer be ignored.
When queried about the bank’s intention to offer crypto services like its rivals, she replied, “we are looking at it and seriously there is some work being done in the bank.”
Proceeding with Caution
Wong further said that the decision to give crypto a try was in response to the growing demand for crypto services by customers. The bank would however take cautionary and due diligence measures as part of its fiduciary duty of care to clients before giving a clear direction.
“If you say we are looking at it, it is very much in addressing customer needs, but safely, we want to help them to recognize the investment and how to handle it,” she added.
Wong prefers to address cryptocurrencies as “crypto-assets” because they are assets that people invest in and have value. According to her, they should not be called currencies since they are not legal tender.
Due to the wild volatility associated with their prices, she hinted at the bank opting to take the exchange route rather than directly investing in them.
“The technology itself(blockchain) can be used in many other manners…so you can say that we are now working very much on a trade platform, how to ensure that the whole flow of trade is safe.”
Singapore’s Open Hands To Crypto
Wong’s comments come nearly two months after Singapore’s biggest bank, DBS Group Holdings declared its intention to open a digital exchange after securing a crypto license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
In May, DBS launched a trust solution for the asset class to enable its private banking clients to invest, custody, and manage their digital assets securely.
Singapore continues to cement itself as a cryptocurrency stronghold, with global exchanges such as Gemini and Binance already having established roots in the Southeast Asia state. Ravi Menon, the managing director of MAS has previously declared his support for the industry, stressing that the best approach to crypto would be to regulate it rather than clamping it down.
“Not to get into this game, I think risks Singapore being left behind, getting early into that game means we can have a head start, and better understand its potential benefits as well as its risks,” he recently said.