Commerzbank AG – the fourth largest bank in Germany – has received its Crypto Custody License after unveiling plans to break into digital asset safekeeping almost two years ago.
This makes Commerzbank the first full-service bank in Germany to receive the license.
Commerzbank Enters Crypto Custody
Per a press release on Wednesday, the bank’s new license opens it to launching a “broad range” of new digital asset services, especially pertaining to crypto assets.
Its first goal will be to establish a reliable, regulatory-compliant platform for its institutional clients to manage their crypto.
According to the bank’s Chief Operating Officer, Dr Jörg Oliveri del Castillo-Schulz, securing the license marks an “important milestone” for its entry into the industry.
“This highlights our ongoing commitment to applying the latest technologies and innovations, and it forms the foundation for supporting our customers in the areas of digital assets,” he said in a statement.
Commerzbank serves roughly 26,000 corporate client groups and nearly 11 million private and small business customers in Germany. It handles roughly 30% of the nation’s foreign trade, and boasted assets worth €510 billion ($553 billion) as of this year’s third quarter.
The bank first revealed that it was working “intensively” on the subject of crypto asset safekeeping and trading in December 2021, shortly after Sparkasse (German Savings Bank Association) expressed interest in launching a crypto wallet for its clients. The firm also teamed with Deutsche Bank earlier that year to develop a marketplace for tokenized art and real estate.
The Rise of Crypto-Supportive Banks
Commerzbank’s entry into crypto custody continues a trend of European banks cautiously dabbling with digital asset management. In July, France’s Societe Generale’s crypto unit received its Digital Asset Service Provider (DASP) license, allowing customers to store and trade crypto on its platform.
Earlier this month, British financial giant HSBC announced a partnership with Swiss crypto firm Metaco to offer crypto custody in 2024, complementing its digital asset issuance service HSBC Orion.
In an interview with CNBC last month, MicroStrategy executive chairman Michael Saylor said that “big banks” would need to enter the crypto industry for Bitcoin (BTC) to reach full maturity as an asset.
“For the industry to migrate to the next level, we need to migrate to adult supervision,” Saylor said. “We’re gonna need big banks to become the crypto custodians – we’re gonna need Wall Street to take a role.”