Standard Chartered and SBI Holdings Partner to Invest $100 Million in Crypto Startups in UAE

Standard Chartered’s investment arm, SC Ventures, and Japanese financial conglomerate SBI Holdings have joined forces to establish a $100 million cryptocurrency vehicle in the United Arab Emirates.

This joint venture aims to invest in various crypto sectors, including decentralized finance, tokenization, infrastructure, payments, and the metaverse. Covering seed to Series C funding rounds, the vehicle will have a global investment focus.

Amid signs of a potential bullish sentiment in the crypto markets, with Bitcoin currently trading at approximately $36,800, reflecting a year-to-date gain of over 120%, SC Ventures and SBI Holdings are strategically positioning themselves in the crypto space. Spot crypto trading volume on centralized exchanges also saw an increase in October after a four-month decline. These market dynamics might indicate renewed interest in crypto, possibly in anticipation of the approval of a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) early next year.

The joint venture between SC Ventures and SBI Holdings plans to undertake “strategic and minority investments” in crypto startups, leveraging SC Ventures’ expertise in digital assets, including experiences with ventures such as Zodia Custody and Zodia Markets, as well as previous investments in fintech firms like Ripple and Metaco. Notably, SC Ventures exited its stake in Metaco in May when Ripple acquired the company for $250 million.

Alex Manson, CEO of SC Ventures, stated, “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.”

In parallel, SBI Holdings is set to launch a separate fund by year-end, with plans to invest up to 100 billion yen ($663 million) in web3, AI, and fintech startups. Key Japanese financial entities, including Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mizuho Bank, Nippon Life Insurance, and Daiwa Securities Group, have reportedly committed to investing over 50 billion yen in this fund.

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