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Deutsche Bank has applied for a digital asset custody platform license with the German finance regulator, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), according to a Bloomberg report.
Speaking at a conference earlier this week, Deutsche Bank’s global head of corporate bank David Lynne said that the bank is “building out our digital assets and custody business,” and confirmed that it had put in an application to BaFin for a digital asset license.
The German bank has reportedly been working on a crypto asset custody platform since late 2020, with a view to establishing a “minimum viable product in 2021 while exploring global client interest for a pilot initiative.”
With assets worth $1.3 trillion, per S&P Global data of largest banks in 2023, Deutsche Bank is the largest bank in Germany in terms of total assets, and Europe’s ninth largest bank.
The bank did not respond immediately to Decrypt’s request for comment.
Its enthusiasm for digital asset custody marks something of an about-face for Deutsche Bank, which in a 2021 research note described Bitcoin’s value as being “entirely based on wishful thinking.”
Are German regulators crypto-friendly?
Germany has taken a broadly welcoming stance towards the crypto industry.
In 2019, German lawmakers introduced a bill to enable crypto custody and trading services across German banks and other licensed institutions by amending the European Union’s Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive.
According to BaFin, by December 2022, it had issued four licenses for crypto custody and provisional permits to 14 institutions. Coinbase Germany was the first company to secure a BaFin license for operating a crypto custody platform in June 2021.
In March 2023, the German regulators recently granted custody and trading services licenses to Boerse Stuttgart Digital, the country’s stock market operator, and Finoa, a cryptocurrency trading platform.