The investment arm of the Standard Chartered bank, SC Ventures, and SBI Holdings have partnered to invest $100million in cryptocurrency startups. The latter is one of the leading financial services company groups based in Tokyo, Japan.
The money will be utilised to set up a crypto vehicle in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) called the ‘Digital Asset Joint Venture’ investment company. This, in turn, will put money in crypto across areas such as decentralised finance, tokenisation, infrastructure, payments and the metaverse.
The two companies also revealed plans to invest globally, covering seed to Series C funding rounds. The CEO of SC Ventures, Alex Manson, commented on the news saying: “The UAE is fast becoming a hub for fintechs in the digital assets space due to its strengthening infrastructure and talent. Leveraging our experience in digital assets through our ventures like Zodia Custody and Zodia Markets, as well as our investments in Ripple and Metaco, this will be an important vehicle to explore the emerging digital asset ecosystem opportunities globally, and to help shape the future of finance in this dynamic region.”
In May, Standard Chartered signed a memorandum of understanding with the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) to collaborate on digital assets, including digital asset custody. Back then, it had also revealed its plans to launch digital asset custody services, starting in DIFC and to cater to institutional clients around the world, if given the regulatory approval.
The MoU was signed at the Dubai FinTech Summit and aligned with Dubai’s vision to be at the forefront of the future of finance. During the signing ceremony, Governor of DIFC, Bill Winters, said: “We see digital assets as an important part of the future of financial services and we are committed to investing in the infrastructure and talent necessary to be a leader in this space. The UAE has a well-balanced approach to digital asset adoption and financial regulation, making it an ideal first market for us to launch our digital asset custody proposition.”
Both SC Ventures and SBI Holdings have had a strategic relationship for a while, previously investing in the same startups like SC Ventures’ portfolio companies including Solv, Zodia Custody and myZoi.
As per recent reports, SBI Holdings will also manage a separate fund to invest in startup companies such as fintech, artificial intelligence (AI), and the next-generation Internet Web3 by the end of this year. The plans are to put about 100 billion yen, which is around $663 million, into this.
Similar moves have also been taken by other Japanese financial giants like Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mizuho Bank, Nippon Life Insurance, and Daiwa Securities Group, who have reportedly already planned to invest more than 50 billion yen in the fund.
The latest development comes on the back of renewed interest in the crypto market as it flipped to the green side with a 3% daily positive change. Bitcoin ($BTC) stood close to hitting the $37k price level as it rose by over 4% in the last 24 hours. Other top coins also followed it in bullish pressure.
Recent data also showed how October saw spot trading volumes on centralised exchanges increase for the first time in four months. The total trading volume for the last month stood at $632billion, which is an increase of 87.2% on September.