United Kingdom based multinational banking and financial services company Standard Chartered (StanChart) is launching a cryptocurrency exchange, reports say.

According to Reuters on June 2, StanChart has partnered with Hong Kong exchange owner BC Technology Group to launch a platform for the U.K. and European institutional market.

Standard Chartered: Crypto is "here to stay"

The bank has long touted interest in the cryptocurrency sphere, and news of the launch follows various efforts to enter the crypto trading arena.

The project will be handled by SC Ventures, the innovation arm of the bank, with no deadline for activities to begin yet named.

"We have a strong conviction that digital assets are here to stay and will be adopted by the institutional market as a highly relevant asset class," Alex Manson, head of SC Ventures, told Reuters.

StanChart thus becomes the latest mainstream financial player to pledge an interest in crypto trading. Its timing is conspicuous, coming after Bitcoin (BTC) shed 50% of its USD value, taking the majority of altcoins with it. 

Earlier, fellow banking giant HSBC publicly announced that it had no interest in entering the space, even as competitors seek to woo institutional clients with their own in-house offerings. Domestic banks in the United States, meanwhile, are expected to open up Bitcoin trading en masse by the end of the year. 

Standard Chartered stock price 1-day candle chart. Source: TradingView

Bank try not to get left behind

As Cointelegraph reported, meanwhile, pundits believe that it is ultimately a question of "if," not "when" when it comes to legacy finance involvement.

Raphael Polansky, managing director at Boerse Stuttgart Digital Ventures GmbH, told Cointelegraph last week that crypto custody will also see an continued stream of interest from traditional banks. Here, however, there may be more reluctance to put skin in the game.

“We foresee a lot of strategic moves in the market where traditional banks will invest in crypto custodians instead of building up their own solutions," he said.

For its part, StanChart launched a crypto custody venture, Zodia, at the end of 2020.

"Zodia’s mission is to be a ‘force for good’ by lifting industry standards for digital assets in a sustainable, safe and responsible way," Manson said in a press release at the time.