Nansen: DBS Bank Holds $650 Million in Ether

Nansen claims DBS Bank holds $650M in Ether, but DBS denies the position amid speculation and crypto growth.

On May 30, blockchain analytics firm Nansen identified a major Ethereum holder, labeling it as belonging to Singapore’s DBS Bank. The wallet in question reportedly holds over 170,000 Ether, valued at nearly $650 million. Nansen’s analysis suggests that this wallet already generated a profit of $200 million from holding Ether.

Nansen, known for its blockchain data insights, flagged this significant Ethereum holder as DBS Bank, one of the largest banking institutions in Singapore. Despite this identification, DBS Bank has publicly denied holding such a position. A spokesperson from DBS Bank clarified that the bank does not have this Ether position on its books. However, the bank declined to comment on whether its digital exchange or custody services might control the private keys to the wallet.

Speculations and Potential Explanations

While DBS Bank did not confirm ownership of the Ether, there is speculation within the community that the assets might be linked to DBS’s digital exchange, which serves accredited investors. Some community members believe the Ether could represent assets held on behalf of investors rather than the bank’s own holdings.

Nansen, maintaining confidence in their analysis, stated that the information came from a reliable source. According to Edward Wilson, a Nansen analyst, DBS likely owns the private key to the wallet as part of its custody solutions. Wilson explained that this situation mirrors how institutions, both crypto-native like Binance and Coinbase, and traditional custodians manage funds on behalf of their users, ensuring the security and integrity of the assets.

DBS Bank has been involved in the cryptocurrency space since 2020, when it introduced a crypto trading and custody service alongside a platform for security token offerings. At the time, DBS Exchange clarified that while it would not directly hold any assets, it would offer custody services to investors. The bank emphasized that all digital assets would be kept secure through DBS Bank’s globally recognized custodial services.

In its initial announcement, DBS also indicated its support for major cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic, and Ether. This foundational move into the crypto sector laid the groundwork for subsequent growth and innovation within the bank’s digital asset division.

Growth and Expansion of DBS Bank’s Crypto Division

DBS Bank’s venture into cryptocurrency had significant growth and success. In 2022, the bank reported a four-fold increase in Bitcoin purchases through its digital exchange. Additionally, the volume of total trades more than doubled from April to June 2022. The upward trend continued into 2023, with DBS noting an 80% rise in Bitcoin trading volume. This growth largely comes from the crypto market collapses in 2022, which likely drove increased trading activity and investor interest.

In July 2023, DBS Bank expanded its digital asset services by launching a digital yuan transaction tool. This initiative marked the bank’s first transaction for corporate clients using China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC). The launch of the e-CNY merchant solution by DBS Bank China allowed businesses to accept payments in digital yuan, demonstrating the bank’s commitment to integrating advanced digital payment solutions and expanding its digital currency offerings.

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