Asia-focused banks and financial institutions consider there is a need for more regulatory clarity across the region, but also more confidence by financial institutions to trigger what could become the “second wave” of crypto adoption across the region, according to the participants of a debate held on the second day of the Crypto and Digital Assets Summit hosted by the Financial Times.
Yulong Liu, Managing Director of Global Partnerships at the Hong Kong-based crypto financial services provider Babel Finance, said that there is a “gap of regulatory clarity” between the US and many Asian markets, but that Asia’s regulatory frameworks are heading towards a more beneficial state for investors.
“We are pretty confident that there will be more clarity in the region … so that we can promote these assets,” Liu said.
Alex Manson, Head of SC Ventures, a business unit of the UK bank Standard Chartered, said that banks need to provide the necessary financial infrastructure to enable crypto’s widespread institutional adoption.
“This will trigger a second wave of adoption which will be very different from the first one,” he argued.
What banks can bring to the crypto table is “widespread institutional acceptance,” said Manson, but, with regards to the necessary technology infrastructure, it is a lot easier to build ventures from scratch and outside the main banks, he argued, “so we start with fresh, and world class technology and we are also in position to adopt business models very different from those that banks are used to operating.”
Bidyut Dumra, Executive Director and Head of Innovation at Singapore-based bank DBS, observed that technological constraints are not the main reason why some banks are hesitating to venture into crypto, but that the real factor behind this issue is the lack of willingness and concern over their legacy operations. It was not that long ago that some banking executives were considering crypto as a type of a Ponzi scheme, he said.
“Ensuring that it’s an access that people will follow and accept is the foundation on which you can start building other services,” according to Dumra.
He stated that the bank is currently involved in projects involving crypto custody services, cryptoasset trade, and tokenization.