Standard Chartered-owned crypto firm Zodia launches in Singapore

A view of the Standard Chartered financial institution in Singapore, May 3, 2023.

Caroline Chia | Reuters

Zodia Custody, an organization that helps giant establishments retailer their crypto, launched in Singapore on Tuesday in a bid to faucet into the nation’s quickly rising digital asset market.

The growth makes Zodia the primary entity that’s owned by and partnered with banks to supply digital asset custody providers for monetary establishments in Singapore, Zodia mentioned in a information launch.

Zodia is a subsidiary of Standard Chartered, the British financial institution with a presence largely in rising markets, similar to Asia, Africa and the Middle East. StanChart launched Zodia in 2021 alongside Northern Trust, in a transfer that highlighted curiosity from huge establishments in interacting with digital currencies. Zodia can also be part-owned by SBI Digital Asset Holdings, the crypto division of Japanese financial institution SBI. As a part of that deal, SBI additionally agreed to launch its custody enterprise in Japan.

Zodia mentioned it needs to broaden throughout Asia-Pacific to cater to rising demand from establishments for bank-grade custody of digital property, in addition to demand from present purchasers in the area, the corporate mentioned. 

Singapore is “attending to that subsequent degree of maturity” in phrases of forming guidelines for cryptoassets and the event of central financial institution digital currencies, Zodia CEO Julian Sawyer informed CNBC in a telephone name. Sawyer was beforehand a co-founder of Starling Bank.

“Singapore is a market that has been no stranger to the crypto world for a very long time,” Sawyer mentioned. “We wish to be a part of it. We suppose that the market of a financial institution owned custodian is definitely what the market is wanting.”

Zodia works with purchasers starting from hedge funds and excessive frequency merchants to prime brokers, exchanges, and asset managers.

Standard Chartered has a “incredible model” in Singapore, Sawyer mentioned, including that the backing of such a big establishment has helped enhance its conversations with main monetary corporations. “Being a part of Standard Chartered comes up in each single dialog,” he informed CNBC. “It’s completely essential.”

“We undertake their danger their compliance frameworks, info safety, resilience, [and] folks managing,” he added.

Singapore has seen speedy progress in relation to digital asset adoption. The city-state’s crypto possession price stands at 19%, in response to market analysis firm Statista, larger than the worldwide common of 15%.

Funding for crypto firms in Singapore has additionally remained sturdy regardless of a bear market the trade endured in the wake of the collapse of FTX, Three Arrows Capital, Terra, and varied different beforehand outstanding names.

Crypto or blockchain was the highest space of fintech funding in Singapore in 2022, pulling in $1.2 billion of funding in 2022, in response to KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech report for the second half of 2022. Crypto-related funding did nonetheless fall by 21%, nonetheless. Globally, crypto startups raised $23.1 billion in 2022, down 23% year-over-year.

Zodia’s transfer into Singapore comes on the heels of an growth into Abu Dhabi. The firm secured in-principle regulatory approval in Abu Dhabi earlier this month in a bid to benefit from the United Arab Emirates capital’s crypto-friendly regulatory surroundings and standing as a monetary middle.

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