Germany's Commerzbank is seeking to enter the crypto-assets market after a spokesperson revealed the bank has applied for a local crypto licence.
Commerzbank is Germany's second-largest listed bank but is the country's first major institution to seek such a licence, according to a report by local news outlet Börsen-Zeitung.
Approval would enable the bank to offer crypto safekeeping services to its clients and to develop its crypto custody offering.
Germany introduced a new licensing regime for crypto services in 2020 along with an amendment to the EU's Money Laundering Directive, in order to encourage regulated firms to enter the crypto market.
Such a move is seen as critical to attracting more institutional investors into digital asset classes.
However, the German banking regulator BaFin has so far only approved four out of 25 applications from propsective crypto custodians.
The licence application comes a year after a partnership was struck between Commerzbank, Deutsche Börse and fintech 360X to develop a digital asset trading platform.
According to Mikkel Morch, executive director at crypto/digital asset hedge fund ARK36, the move from Commerzbank is evidence of “the beginnings of a race within the traditional banking field to gain a competitive edge by being the first entity in its local market to offer crypto services".
Morch added that the move would "only speed up the adoption of crypto as a mainstream financial service".