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Nomura’s digital assets arm Laser plans to be profitable in two years


The CEO of Nomura’s Laser Digital sees the fallout from the collapse of FTX as an opportunity to provide institutions with more trusted digital asset services.

In September, Nomura announced the creation of Laser Digital as its global digital asset unit based out of Switzerland. It is chaired by Steve Ashley, formerly head of Nomura’s wholesale division, and Dr. Jez Mohideen is its CEO. He’s been with Nomura for four years, most recently as Chief Digital Officer of the wholesale division, and before that was a partner at Brevan Howard in London.

“The latest events in the crypto market will provide an opportunity for us as it will drive institutional investors to digital-asset firms backed by traditional finance houses,” Mohideen told Bloomberg. “We’ve run all the stress tests and assuming worse-case scenarios in terms of market volume, price volatility, we believe we can turn profitable within two years.”

He believes companies need to take a long term, five to ten-year view of the digital assets sector.

As previously disclosed, Laser has three arms starting with venture capital. It plans to support digital asset trading and offer investment products. Parent Nomura started supporting Bitcoin futures and options for Asian clients in May.

Nomura was an early institutional entrant into digital asset custody through Komainu, a joint venture with tech wallet firm Ledger and asset manager Coinshares. We will have to wait to see whether Laser Digital’s asset management products involve collaborations with Coinshares. Mohideen’s former boss Alan Howard is also a Komainu investor through Elwood Technologies.

Komainu recently acquired a license in Dubai, where Laser Digital aims to be licensed alongside approvals sought in Switzerland.

Meanwhile, Laser’s venture investing is already off the ground with investments in ESG firm Allfinra and Orderly, the DeFi market-making infrastructure.

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