Commerzbank, Germany’s fourth-largest bank, has confirmed it wants to offer digital assets custody and exchange services to clients, joining a growing number of conservative banks in Europe moving into digital assets.
Bernd Reh, a Commerzbank senior spokesman, confirmed to local media Börsen-Zeitung last week that the bank applied for a license in January from BaFin, Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, and that the bank would first focus on institutional customers. The banking giant currently has 70,000 corporate and institutional clients worldwide.
“Where traditional and large banks until very recently have seen crypto as competition and shied away from it, we now start to see adoption even from some of the most conservative players in the banking field,” Mikkel Morch, executive director at crypto hedge fund ARK36, said. Commerzbank, which had some 541 billion euros ($583 billion) under management in late 2021 according to its latest financial statement, has been working on several blockchain projects since 2018.
In January 2020, Germany introduced crypto custody into the German Banking Act as a new financial service. “Crypto custody business is also subject to the notice issued by [the German central bank] Deutsche Bundesbank on the granting of authorization to provide financial services,” BaFin says on its website dedicated to crypto licensing.