Today Nomura’s Swiss digital asset subsidiary Laser Digital announced it invested in Webn, an incubator of firms targeting institutional digital assets and web3. Alan Howard, the co-founder and former CEO of Brevan Howard, has owned more than 75% of Webn since its founding. Howard is also a significant investor in Komainu, the digital asset custody firm that Nomura co-founded with crypto security firm Ledger and CoinShares.
Laser Digital’s CEO, Dr. Jez Mohideen has become a Webn non executive director. The startup says it wants to “build a bridge between blockchain technology and institutional finance.”
“Webn’s ambition aligns with Laser Digital’s commitment to addressing the challenges currently faced by institutional investors who are engaging with digital assets,” said Himanshu Panwar, CEO, Webn Group UK. “With this investment, we look forward to co-building businesses with Laser Digital that meet a real market need for institutions and combine high standards of risk management and compliance with institutional-grade technology products.”
Webn is currently incubating three firms. One of them is Twinstake, an institutional grade crypto staking provider which announced a collaboration with Komainu last week. Another is TruFin which also provides staking as well as crypto options strategies.
Invariably crypto is staked alongside other crypto investors. The challenge is that some of those investors may be dodgy, which is a particular problem for institutions. Hence, both Twinstake and TruFin require all participants to go through KYC to avoid institutions commingling funds with undesirables.
The third Webn company is Geometry which helps build math and cryptography oriented firms and protocols such as those deploying zero knowledge proofs.
For Laser Digital, this is at least the fifth investment this year. Last month it acquired Elysium, an established provider of post trade solutions for over-the-counter FX markets and, more recently, digital assets.