SBI Invests $15 Million into Alpaca, Forges Partnership

On October 12, 2023, Alpaca, a comprehensive global brokerage platform based in San Mateo, California, made public its strategic alliance with Japan’s financial behemoth SBI Holdings (SBI). This partnership has been further cemented with a USD15 million investment from SBI, aimed at propelling Alpaca’s business ventures across Asia.

This alliance is a significant stride towards amplifying Alpaca’s business operations and increasing its accessibility to enterprise-level financial institutions in Asia, especially for clearing and executing US securities. The investment is a part of a broader initiative to enhance Alpaca’s reach in the Asian market, which is evident from its recent procurement of a broker-dealer license from Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA). This license is a key enabler for Alpaca to provide the requisite brokerage infrastructure to financial institutions and startups, facilitating US stock investment services to their clientele.

The USD15 million investment from SBI is structured as a convertible note, incrementing Alpaca’s total funding to USD120 million since its establishment in 2015. This investment is foreseen to significantly accelerate Alpaca’s expansion in Asia, as mentioned by Yoshi Yokokawa, CEO of Alpaca. Currently, Alpaca serves over 5 million end-users through more than 100 corporate partners across nearly 30 countries, with a considerable client base in Asia. This partnership is anticipated to broaden Alpaca’s customer base in Japan, leveraging SBI’s expansive network in the financial sector.

Post its Series B funding round in 2021, Alpaca has witnessed a remarkable growth with a 17-fold increase in revenue and a 15-fold surge in the number of investing applications on its platform, which now stands at around 150. Alpaca has plans on the anvil for introducing new products and services, such as options, bonds, mutual bonds, and individual retirement account options, primarily targeting the U.S. market. The firm has streamlined its operations, reducing its workforce to 150 from 175, as a measure to enhance operational efficiency.

Alpaca, since the launch of its crypto API post its Series B round in 2021, has been nurturing a robust community for developers. While the crypto business hasn’t been a significant revenue generator, the CEO is optimistic about its growth with the revival of the crypto market. The crypto API is a vital tool for developers and businesses to integrate crypto and stock trading services, embodying Alpaca’s vision of fostering a developer-centric ecosystem.

Alpaca’s journey has been backed by a plethora of investors, including Portage Ventures, Spark Capital, Tribe Capital, Social Leverage, Horizons Ventures, Unbound, Elefund, Positive Sum, and Y Combinator, reflecting a strong vote of confidence in its business model and future prospects.

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SBI Remit Expands Ripple XRP Based Remittance Services

Today, SBI Remit, a subsidiary of SBI Group that specializes in providing services for international money transfers, made the announcement that it would expand its remittance services that are based on XRP to bank accounts in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. These three countries are: Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The digital asset known as XRP is used by the service in the capacity of a bridge currency to facilitate real-time, low-cost international payments.

SBI is making calculated moves into the cryptocurrency market. Recently, the Japanese financial conglomerate led a $36 million Series A funding round for Zodia Custody, as reported by Blockchain.News, a cryptocurrency custody subsidiary of Standard Chartered. With this investment, SBI Holdings has reportedly become the second-largest shareholder in Zodia Custody.

The Situation

Since 2017, SBI Remit has been able to improve the quality of its international money transfer services by integrating Ripple Payments. The firm launched a crypto-enabled solution in 2021 that made use of XRP, making it the first product of its sort to be released in Japan. The service at first focused on cryptocurrency wallets located in the Philippines.

The expansion into Southeast Asian markets

According to the most recent release, the scope of SBI Remit’s XRP-based remittance services will now be expanded to cover bank accounts in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. “These countries have a high share of bank account-based remittances, and we expect accelerated adoption in the future,” the business said in a statement.

Ripple’s technology is increasingly becoming a go-to solution for remittance services, thanks to its real-time, low-cost transaction capabilities. In 2021, Blockchain.News reported that Ripple entered into a strategic partnership with MoneyGram, a leading player in the global remittance market.

Specifications and Formulas

As part of the recently implemented plan, SBI Remit will be responsible for transmitting client remittance requests to the firm, which would then prompt a real-time transfer of XRP. Customers will now have the ability to receive monies in their respective local currencies as a result of the company’s partnership with TRANGLO Pte. Ltd., a market leader in the sector of money transfers.

Advantage over Competitors

SBI Remit’s goal is to provide quick and inexpensive money transfer services to its customers by using XRP as a bridge currency. According to the official statement, “The system may have the capability of enhancing competitiveness in the international money transfer business.” SBI Remit uses a technology called Ripple Payments, which has the ability to reduce the costs associated with money transfers and allow real-time settlements.

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Crypto Liquidity Provider B2C2 Acquires Woorton, Strengthening European Crypto Presence

B2C2, a prominent crypto liquidity provider catering to institutional clients worldwide and a digital asset pioneer shaping the future ecosystem, has finalized its acquisition of Woorton, a leading European entity in market making and over-the-counter transactions for the digital asset sector.

Founded in 2015 and majority-owned by the Japanese financial group, SBI, B2C2 has facilitated institutional access to cryptocurrencies by offering consistent liquidity across various market conditions. Its achievements are rooted in its crypto-native technology and continuous product innovation, with headquarters in the UK and branches in the US and Japan.

This acquisition underscores B2C2’s dedication to expanding its client base in Europe. With the forthcoming MiCA (Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation) regulations, B2C2 is poised to serve clients within the European Union jurisdiction. This move also paves the way for B2C2 to tap into client growth opportunities beyond the UK, Asia-Pacific, and the USA. A significant aspect of this acquisition is B2C2’s access to Woorton’s PSAN (prestataires de services sur actifs numériques) License, regulated by the AMF (Autorité des Marchés Financiers). This license permits B2C2 to operate within the European Union.

Established in 2017, Woorton boasts an active clientele of approximately 250 clients, trading in 96 coins with a 24/7 liquidity provision. The company has been actively engaged with regulatory bodies and co-founded ADAN (Association for the Development of Crypto-Assets). This association aims to foster dialogue between the digital asset industry and policymakers. Woorton has also played a pivotal role in initiating Paris Blockchain Week, an event that attracts over 5,000 attendees and 170 speakers globally, focusing on blockchain and digital assets.

Charlie Meraud, Woorton’s CEO, stated, “In joining forces with B2C2, we merge the unique strengths of both firms. This collaboration will offer our clients access to a more substantial liquidity pool and an enhanced market presence.”

Nicola White, B2C2’s CEO, remarked on the acquisition as a “significant milestone in B2C2’s growth journey.” She expressed enthusiasm about the potential opportunities this acquisition presents for B2C2 and its European clientele.

Thomas Restout, Head of EMEA at B2C2, highlighted Woorton’s innovative approach and its alignment with B2C2’s values and operational practices. He emphasized the synergy between the two firms, which will benefit clients in the European market.

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Japan’s Financial Giant SBI Group to Shut Down Crypto Mining Operations in Russia

Japanese financial giant SBI Group announced that it will shut down its crypto mining operations in the entire country of Russia.

Since the outbreak of the big Russian-Ukrainian war on February 24 this year, the company has terminated its crypto mining operations in Russia’s Siberia region.

Chief Financial Officer Hideyuki Katsuchi announced plans to sell machinery and exit but did not reveal when the withdrawal from Siberia would be completed, according to Bloomberg.

The company said the suspension of mining in Siberia made the crypto-asset business report a pretax loss of 9.7 billion yen ($72 million) in the three months ended June 30, the first quarterly loss in a decade.

At the same time, according to the data of blockchain browser, the mining hash rate of SBI Crypto also decreased by nearly 40%, from 5786.96 PH/S per second on February 25 to 3,563.75 PH/S on August 19, 2022.


The U.S. cryptocurrency mining company Compass Mining is looking for buyers for its equipment stranded in Russia to avoid sanctions from the U.S. Treasury Department.

The price tag on the pieces of mining equipment in the Russian region is pegged at $30 million.

In April 2022, the United States announced that it would add Russian cryptocurrency mining company Bitriver to its sanctions list. Due to geopolitical uncertainty, many miners have chosen to avoid doing business in Russia.

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SBI Group launches crypto-asset fund for Japanese investors

Tokyo’s biggest finserv firm, SBI Group, will now allow general Japanese investors to purchase cryptocurrencies via its newly launched ‘crypto asset fund’. The fund is composed of seven cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), XRP, Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Chainlink (LINK) and Polkadot (DOT). 

The crypto-asset fund, to be traded and operated by the SBI Alternative Fund, was established on Dec. 02 with a dedicated capital of 5 million yen, worth approximately $45,000 at the time of writing. However, the company may choose to release the capital in smaller break-ups of 1 million yen each.

Source: SBI

According to the official statement, investors will be required to go through an application process that includes an anonymous partnership agreement with SBI Alternative Fund prior purchases. The company’s reasoning behind this move states:

“Since it is not suitable for all customers, it can only be purchased by customers who meet certain standards set by our company.”

In addition, the crypto investments made by such anonymous associations will be handled by SBI VC Trade, a sister firm dealing with cryptocurrency trading. SBI also highlighted that none of the seven cryptocurrencies in the crypto-asset fund will exceed 20% in ratio.

Assuring the longevity of the service, SBI has stated that the fund “cannot be canceled within one year,” between Feb. 1 2022 to Jan. 31, 2023. Investors will also be subject to unrealized capital gains taxes in addition to bearing other shared expenses including establishment and liquidation costs and audit expenses.

SBI has set an age limit between 20 to 70 for this fund and will enforce a three-month locking period for every purchase “aiming to reduce investment risk by diversifying time.” The company will also rebalance the investment ratio allocation once every month.

Related: SBI Holdings invests in Singaporean crypto exchange Coinhako

In addition to contributing to Japan’s crypto adoption, SBI continues to spread its reach in other jurisdictions. Most recently, the company invested in a Singaporean crypto exchange named Coinhako.

Coinhako received SBI’s funding soon after its received regulatory approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). As Cointelegraph reported, the investment was made via the SBI-Sygnum-Azimut Digital Asset Opportunity Fund, a fund jointly set up by SBI and Switzerland-based Sygnum Bank.

Coinhako plans to “expand our business to other countries in Southeast Asia” by using SBI’s fund infusion and its pre-existing international network.