Singapore-based investment office Whampoa Group is to set up a digital bank in Bahrain offering traditional banking services as well as round-the-clock payments and settlement for digital asset companies.
The bank, to be established by the end of the year subject to regulatory approval, will serve institutions and sophisticated investors around the world. It plans to offer digital banking services and the trading, custody and asset management of digital assets.
Shawn Chan, CEO of Whampoa Group, comments: "We were impressed by Bahrain’s solid reputation in the financial services sector, transparent regulatory framework, and ongoing pledge to collaborate and innovate. We are committed to providing innovative digital financial solutions in line with global best practices and are confident that our digital bank will set a new benchmark for the industry.
Bahrain was among the first Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to issue crypto-asset licenses.
Khalid Humaidan, chief executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, says: "The establishment of these types of institutions are vital to further strengthening the existing digital assets industry. This milestone opportunity directly aligns with Bahrain’s Economic Recovery Plan, which prioritises digitisation across the financial services sector."
Whampoa Group in 2022 said it intended to raise US$50 million for a crypto-related hedge fund and deploy US$100 million to invest in the digital-asset sector. Before that, the group was part of a consortium led by ByteDance that bid for, but failed to achieve, a digital-bank licence in Singapore.