Standard Chartered raises $36m for crypto custody platform

Standard Chartered has raised $36 million in a new series A funding round for its cryptocurrency custody subsidiary, Zodia Custody. The funding round was led by Japanese financial conglomerate SBI Holdings, which reportedly became the second-largest shareholder in Zodia Custody. Prior to this funding round, Zodia was backed exclusively by Standard Chartered and Northern Trust, with Standard Chartered holding a 90% stake in the firm. However, it remains the majority shareholder even after the latest fundraise, according to Zodia Custody CEO Julian Sawyer.

Zodia Custody was launched in December 2020 as a joint venture between Standard Chartered and Northern Trust, with a focus on providing custody services for digital assets. The platform is designed to provide institutional investors with a secure and compliant way to store their cryptocurrencies. With the new funding, Zodia plans to expand its offering and develop new products and services for its clients.

Standard Chartered’s move to raise funding for its crypto custody platform is part of a larger trend of global banks expanding their capabilities in the cryptocurrency space. As more institutional investors look to gain exposure to cryptocurrencies, banks are stepping up to provide the infrastructure and services needed to support this demand. In addition to Standard Chartered, other major banks such as JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of New York Mellon have all recently announced plans to offer cryptocurrency-related services to their clients.

The involvement of SBI Holdings in the latest funding round is notable, as the Japanese conglomerate has been a major player in the cryptocurrency space for several years. SBI Holdings operates a number of cryptocurrency-related businesses, including a crypto exchange and a mining subsidiary. The firm has also invested in several blockchain startups and is known for its bullish stance on cryptocurrencies.

In summary, Standard Chartered has raised $36 million in a funding round for its cryptocurrency custody subsidiary, Zodia Custody, with SBI Holdings leading the round. The move reflects a larger trend of global banks expanding their cryptocurrency-related capabilities to meet growing demand from institutional investors. With the new funding, Zodia plans to expand its offering and develop new products and services for its clients.


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SBI Holdings in Japan Announces Public Bitcoin Mining Pool

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Pilot Using XRP To Settle Corporate Debts and Credits in Japan Hits New Milestone

Japanese financial giant SBI Holdings and crypto startup FXcoin Ltd. are announcing a new achievement in their XRP pilot program.

In its digital payments experiment, FXcoin is working with the Japanese general trading firm Sumitomo Corporation to settle debts and credits to other Sumitomo Group companies using XRP.


The program has previously had success utilizing Ripple’s native token to conduct future transactions in Japan. However, late in February, FXcoin revealed that it also had success sending XRP overseas to Singapore to settle future transactions, a new milestone for the crypto startup and the Sumitomo Group.

FXcoin notes that the achievement may enable businesses to reduce transaction costs by utilizing crypto assets for overseas payments.

“… the ability to perform future transactions using crypto assets in commercial transactions with overseas business companies will help reduce payment costs, improve payment speed, and diversify payment methods in the activities of business companies that will expand globally in the future.”

Late last year, SBI Holdings and FXcoin also announced they were testing whether XRP could be used as a bridge asset on the foreign exchange (FX) market to reduce the risks of price fluctuations while trading one currency to another.

Ripple and SBI are longtime partners, and SBI invested in the San Francisco-based payments company back in 2016.

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Japan’s SBI Investing ‘Eight-Figure’ Sum in Swiss Crypto Bank Sygnum

SBI Holdings, a Japanese financial services firm, is to lead an ongoing strategic fundraising round for Swiss digital asset bank Sygnum. 

Sygnum, which holds a Swiss banking license, said Tuesday it has secured an “eight-figure” U.S. dollar investment from SBI’s subsidiary, SBI Digital Asset Holdings, which will be used to help the firm grow its client base and expand into new markets across Europe and Asia.

The firm, which has bases in Switzerland and Singapore, said the fundraising effort will have brought in investment of around $30 million over the past six months, helping the firm grow its assets under administration, which stood at over $500 million as of January 2021.

Coming as the company prepares for a possible public offering, the capital raised will also go toward increasing Sygnum’s range of custody offerings, commercializing its tokenization platform and secondary market trading facility, as well as expanding its open banking API infrastructure. 

“With this strong start to 2021, we look forward to working with our stakeholders to continue innovating new solutions, launching new products, and ultimately providing our clients the ability to participate in the fast-growing digital assets opportunity in a safe, convenient, and fully-regulated manner,” said Gerald Goh, the co-founder and CEO of Sygnum Singapore. 

The two firms have had a business relationship since last October, when they launched a fund in Singapore focused on early-stage cryptocurrency investment opportunities.



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SBI Looking for Crypto Joint Venture With Foreign Companies

Japanese financial conglomerate SBI Holdings Inc is holding talks with offshore financial firms to create a cryptocurrency joint venture. The CEO said the move is a result of the company’s plans to grow the business as a core pillar of profitability.

Investors are Looking Into Cryptos

SBI is the largest online brokerage in Japan and has been providing cryptocurrency trading services since 2018.

The comments of Yoshitaka Kitao, who founded the company in 1999, came when cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum emerged as alternative investment destinations and global investors welcomed the fast-growing market.

Kitao told the release that the view on cryptocurrencies has changed, and investors worldwide are now looking for some form of space exposure. He even cited Elon Musk and Tesla’s announcements that the electric vehicle maker raised more than $1.5 billion in Bitcoin as an alternative investment holding company.

Kitao told Reuters that institutional investors, mostly hedge funds, have recently started investing in cryptocurrencies. Not just institutional investors, but Elon Musk too.

Kitao did not provide further details on the international companies negotiating with SBI but emphasized that the company will seek to make joint ventures an important part of its business and a source of future revenue. According to a Reuters report, SBI reported pre-tax profits from trading cryptocurrencies and carrying out transactions worth an estimated $63.9 million in 2020.

He added that to become number one in the world, they can buy a leading company or forging an alliance with a large global company. Their merger and acquisition strategy will not be like acquiring a minority stake in many companies.

SBI Has Been Making Major Moves

To expand its cryptocurrency portfolio, SBI bought into the local Tao Tao exchange last year and acquired a 90% stake in London-based crypto maker B2C2. Profit before tax from taxes on the cryptocurrency business was 6.7 billion yen ($63.9 million) for the nine months ended December, an 83% increase over the same period last year.

“Certainly,” said Kitao when asked if the business would be one of SBI’s most important sources of income. He also suggested considering large-scale mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

As reported by BTCManager, SBI has also launched a crypto lending service through the bitcoin trading section of the SBI VC Trade. This service offers lenders an annual return of one percent, and consumers can provide at least 0.1 BTC.

Specifically, the team explained that lenders will get up to one percent APY of their Bitcoin holdings and that each contract has a validity of 84 days. More digital currencies will be added soon, including XRP and Ether.

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Japan’s SBI in Talks Over Joint Venture to Make Crypto a Core Revenue Source

SBI Holdings, a major Japanese financial services firm, is currently in discussions with foreign financial firms to establish a cryptocurrency joint venture.

SBI’s founder and CEO Yoshitaka Kitao said his firm would “definitely” turn the venture into a core earner for SBI, while adding his firm is considering large scale mergers and acquisitions (MA).

While Kitao noted at least two deals were on the table for discussion with possible joint-venture partners, he declined to disclose further details.

The plans were apparently prompted by cryptocurrency’s entrance into the financial mainstream. “Institutional investors – mainly hedge funds – have recently started investing in cryptocurrencies … Not just institutional investors but also Elon Musk,” Kitao told Reuters on Friday.

Tesla, of which Musk is CEO and founder, disclosed it had bought $1.5 billion in bitcoin last Tuesday under a new investment policy where the car company may “acquire and hold digital assets from time to time or long term.”

Kitao said in order to become “number one,” SBI’s choice would be to buy a leading company or create alliances with other major global companies.

“Our MA strategy will not be something like taking minority stakes in many companies,” he said



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