SC Ventures, the innovation, fintech investment and ventures arm of Standard Chartered, has joined forces with SBI Holdings, the Japanese financial conglomerate, to establish a Digital Asset Joint Venture investment company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Both SC Ventures and SBI Holdings explained that they intend to jointly invest $100million to kick-start the investment company. The new Digital Asset Joint Venture plans to make investments ranging from seed to Series C funding with a focus on investing globally.
May 2023 saw Standard Chartered sign a memorandum of understanding with the Dubai International Financial Centre to collaborate in the digital asset space, including digital asset custody.
In the same month, SC Ventures exited its stake in Metaco SA, a Swiss-based tech firm offering critical software infrastructure that enables institutions to issue, secure, manage and trade digital assets. US crypto firm Ripple acquired Metaco for $250million in its first major acquisition.
“The region is fast becoming a hub for fintechs in the digital asset space due to its regulation, strengthening infrastructure and talent,” Alex Manson, CEO of SC Ventures, explained: “The Digital Asset Joint Venture will be an important vehicle to explore the emerging digital asset ecosystem opportunities globally.
“The Joint Venture will leverage SC Ventures’ experience in digital assets through our ventures such as Zodia Custody and Zodia Markets, and through our investments in fintechs like Ripple and Metaco.
“Our Digital Asset Joint Venture plans to make strategic and minority investments in areas such as market infrastructure, risk management and compliance tools, DeFi, tokenisation, consumer payments, and the Metaverse. This is one of several strategic initiatives and we will continue to invest and expand our footprint in the region as well as across the digital assets ecosystem.”
‘Collective capabilities’ come together for new digital asset joint venture
Yoshitaka Kitao, representative director, chairman, president and CEO of SBI Holdings, Inc, also discussed the move.
Kitao said: “We are thrilled to announce our partnership to establish a Digital Asset Joint Venture in UAE together with SC Ventures and bring to bear the collective capabilities of both our organisations in the digital asset space.
“This initiative further solidifies the strategic relationship between SBI Holdings and SC Ventures following our investment forays into SC Ventures’ portfolio companies including Solv, Zodia Custody and myZoi.”
Established in 1999 as a pioneer of Internet-based financial services in Japan, the SBI Group is a comprehensive internet financial group that operates globally.
Salmaan Jaffery, chief business development officer at the Dubai International Financial Centre, also commented on the DIFC’s involvement.
Jaffery explains: “We congratulate SC Ventures and SBI Holdings on their drive to help shape the future of finance as they forge ahead with their first Digital Asset Joint Venture in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
“In a world where the conversation around digital assets has rapidly evolved from ‘why’ to an eagerly anticipated ‘when,’ DIFC stands at the forefront of regulation, having meticulously tailored its ecosystem to foster an environment that nurtures investment, fuels exponential growth, and drives innovation.”