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105-Year-Old German Bank Readies To Offer Crypto Services

German lender DekaBank has tapped Metaco to head up its digital asset operations as the financial player looks to expand into institutional crypto offerings.

DekaBank, which currently manages more than 360 billion euros ($390.9 billion) in assets, will use Swiss services provider Metaco for custody and capital market solutions, the bank announced Tuesday. The partnership is pending regulatory approval.

Metaco, founded in 2014, specializes in institutional cryptocurrency custody and trading, as well as decentralized finance (DeFi) services.

“Digital assets are a critical part of the future, a radical new way for how assets will be represented, from currencies to real estate,” Andreas Sack, product owner of digital assets custody at DekaBank, said in a statement.

“Today we make another important step towards laying the foundation for giving our institutional investors and millions of people in Germany access to this transformational opportunity.”

DekaBank, founded in 1918, is the securities provider of Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe, the largest financial services group in Europe.

Metaco has experience with the European regulatory system, DekaBank noted in Tuesday’s press release. Metaco “established itself as a leading technology provider to financial institutions and corporations in the digital asset ecosystem,” the release read.

The Metaco partnership is not Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe’s first foray into crypto. In December 2021, the banking group confirmed it was working on a pilot project to allow customers to access bitcoin and ether directly through their existing accounts.

DekaBank’s announcement comes shortly after Metaco revealed it would be partnering with Togg, a Turkish car company, on its mobility ecosystem built on the Avalanche blockchain.

In any case, DekaBank’s native Germany has been known as one of the more friendly countries when it comes to crypto regulation, Renate Prinz, partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, wrote in a November 2022 blog.

The country has some of the clearest guidelines on licensing requirements and token classification, Prinz said, allowing for investors and businesses to more confidently enter the space.

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