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Germany’s Third-Largest Bank Unveils Blockchain-Based Digital Custody Platform for Institutional Investors

Ruholamin Haqshanas
Last updated: | 2 min read
Image Source: AdobeStock / Craig

DZ Bank, one of Germany’s leading financial institutions with assets totaling 300 billion euros, has launched its own blockchain-powered custody platform.

According to an announcement by the bank, the platform is specifically designed to cater to institutional clients, enabling them to engage in cryptocurrency investments.

While the initial focus of the digital custody platform is on institutional customers, DZ Bank has plans to extend its services to include the purchase of cryptocurrencies for both institutional investors and individual customers.

For this reason, the bank applied for a crypto custody license from the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) in June 2023, which would enable DZ Bank to offer secure storage and management of digital assets.

“We assume that within the next ten years, a significant proportion of capital market business will be processed via distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based infrastructures,” Holger Meffert, the head of securities services and digital custody at DZ Bank, said.

“In the medium term, we see DLT as a complementary technology to the established infrastructures in the existing capital market processes.”

German Banks Embrace Cryptocurrencies

DZ Bank’s foray into the digital asset space aligns with a growing trend among German banks to embrace cryptocurrencies, despite the country’s stringent regulatory environment.

In March, Deutsche WertpapierServiceBank took a significant step by introducing the wpNex crypto trading platform, granting 1,200 banks and savings banks in Germany access to the digital asset industry.

DWS, an asset management group majority-owned by Deutsche Bank, has also announced its plans to develop exchange-traded products for cryptocurrencies in the European market.

Additionally, DWS is exploring other digital solutions that will enable investors to tap into blockchain applications and digital assets.

Commerzbank and DekaBank, two traditional banks in Germany, are also seeking crypto custody licenses from BaFin, indicating a broader industry shift towards embracing digital assets.

More recently, it was revealed that Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered’s venture arm SC Ventures are exploring a solution that aims to enable seamless communication between blockchain-based transactions, stablecoins, and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

The two banks are actively testing the concept using the Universal Digital Payments Network (UDPN), a permissioned blockchain system that involves a consortium of banks, financial institutions, and consultancies operating validator nodes.

Earlier this month, BitGo also obtained a cryptocurrency custody license from the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin).

The cryptocurrency firm was granted a full license in Germany following years of operations in the country as part of a transitional regime.