During a conference call with analysts, DBS CEO Piyush Gupta stated that he was “quite pleased” with the exchange’s progress since its inception in December 2020. Gupta stated that the exchange’s goal was to reach 1,000 customers, up from the current “tad under 400.” During the quarter, these 400 institutional clients (the exchange is not open to retail investors) transacted approximately $133 million.
The exchange allows users to trade bitcoin, ether, bitcoin cash, and XRP in a variety of regional currency pairs, as well as digital stocks and bonds.
DBS announced in June that it would offer a bond in the form of a Security Token Offering, but it is unclear how far the project has progressed. At the time, we spoke with experts who said they haven’t “seen much interest” in the offering, and previous attempts to offer STOs haven’t generated much excitement in Asia.
Gupta also stated that he expects volume to increase once the exchange’s trading hours are extended past the Singapore business day.
“A large portion of this activity occurs outside of the Asian time zone,” he explained.
Overall, Gupta stated that DBS’s quarterly net profit increased by 37% to $1.26 billion compared to the same period last year as Singapore’s economy reopened. While the Delta variant remains a source of concern, Gupta noted that the hospitalization rate in Singapore remains low and the recovery rate remains high.
Overall, the bank’s new business segment generated $350 million in revenue, which included the digital exchange, expansion into rural banking in China and India, and the growth-stage debt financing platform EvolutionX.
According to Gupta, these new initiatives are an important focus for the bank in order to find new revenue sources in an era of prolonged low interest rates.
Surprisingly, the digital exchange received only a passing mention during the bank’s quarterly update for the media, and it received only a passing mention until the analyst briefing later. By press time, a DBS spokesperson had not responded to a request for comment on why this was the case.
In Singapore, DBS stock is currently trading at SGD 30.80 ($22.20). It has increased by nearly 18% since the beginning of the year.