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Bitstamp GM APAC Leonard Hoh: Don't Blame Bank Failures on Crypto

The world’s longest-standing crypto exchange expands “Bitstamp as a Service” to APAC with new modular flexibility for its crypto infrastructure offering that includes a network of 15 banking partners.

Leonard Hoh, General Manager APAC, Bitstamp

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Luxembourg-headquartered cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp today announced the roll-out of its white-label Bitstamp as a Service to institutions in selected APAC markets.

The offering, which has three plug-and-play service tiers, covers a range of needs, such as order matching, liquidity for a wide range of crypto markets, regulatory-compliant AML/(Know-your-customer), account reporting and more.

This enables financial institutions to rapidly develop a retail offering without needing to build out technology or compliance infrastructure or acquire specific licenses. Revolut was one of Bitstamp's first partners for the product, back in 2017.

Bitstamp said recent events in the industry have placed new emphasis on good business practices and compliance credentials that necessitate a package of operational controls.

Related: A Wild Week in Finance: What Happened, And Where Do We Go From Here?

"Anyone who wants to remain in the game will need partners that have a long track record of compliance and trust, who don’t shy away from working with regulators and who view risk management as an essential in customer protection," Leonard Hoh, APAC general manager, told Blockhead.

A Bitstamp spokesperson said that the product not be available to Singapore customers just yet, "due to our license application with MAS still being in progress."

Don't Blame Bank Failures on Crypto

Discussing the recent collapse of Silvergate Bank, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in the US, Hoh noted the challenges the industry is now facing, though noted that the crisis should not be blamed on the crypto industry.

"Perhaps guided by the narrative on some media outlets, the public is blaming crypto for the failures of these banks. This is simply not correct. We could talk about why these banks failed but that’d be a story for another day. However, one of the results of this banking crisis is that the crypto industry will find it challenging to find banks that’d be willing to take up the mantle once held by Signature and Silvergate," Hoh said.

Now, crypto companies are looking at jurisdictions with crypto-friendly banks, such as Switzerland, the UK, and the UAE, to ensure there is minimal disruption to their operations.

Related: Why Did a Crypto Hedge Fund Turn to Swiss Banks?

"In the long term, this could result in crypto players shifting their operations away from the US. The banking problem crypto faces will need to be addressed. Would it make regulators and the public more comfortable if crypto companies held their funds in full-reserve, non-lending banks? That’s not a question we can answer right now," he said.

APAC Opportunity

Bitstamp set up its regional hub in Singapore three years ago, and is seeing interest from fintech across the region for an infrastructure solution to support their plans to provide customers with access to crypto.

In a survey carried out by Bitstamp in 2022, over 75% of retail and institutional investors worldwide believe that crypto will become mainstream in the next 10 years. Of all the institutional investors polled, 81% believe digital assets should be part of a portfolio. However, one of the top barriers to entry cited by retail investors was “not sure which platform to trust or is secure,” the company said.

"It validates our view that the region remains underserved and we are confident that the trust that comes with our compliance pedigree will help us achieve our growth plans," the GM said.

On the agenda is an expansion of Bitstamp's licensing footprint and development of new banking partnerships in the region. Bitstamp currently holds more than 50 licenses and registrations globally, and has a network of 15 banking partners.

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