Capital markets News

Nomura’s Laser launches institutional Bitcoin fund

laser digital bitcoin nomura

Today Nomura’s digital assets subsidiary Laser Digital unveiled its Bitcoin Adoption Fund targeting institutional investors. It’s a Cayman Islands long-only mutual fund with the digital asset custody secured by Komainu.

Nomura cofounded Komainu as a regulated custodian in 2018 alongside tech security firm Ledger and asset manager Coinshares.

“Technology is a key driver of global economic growth and is transforming a large part of the economy from analogue to digital,” said Sebastien Guglietta, Head of Laser Digital Asset Management. “Bitcoin is one of the enablers of this long-lasting transformational change.”

Guglietta who leads the fund, was formerly Chief Scientist at Nomura. Before that he held the same role at Brevan Howard as well as portfolio manager.

Asset management is the second part of Laser Digital’s strategy. It launched with a venture capital fund, which has invested across web3, especially DeFi. The third arm will be digital asset trading. It’s no coincidence that it bought elysium, a post trade solution for FX and digital assets.

Institutional Bitcoin funds

The crypto community is eagerly awaiting the first U.S. authorization of a Bitcoin exchange traded fund (ETF). While that might encourage consumer adoption in the U.S., exchange traded products have already been available elsewhere. One example is the Coinshares Physical Crypto ETP.

However, institutions have also been able to get exposure to Bitcoin without directly holding crypto. Several large banks, including Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan partnered with crypto specialist asset managers NYDIG and Galaxy Digital. NYDIG has several funds with more than $750 million (January) in assets under management just in its NYDIG Institutional Bitcoin Fund. Last year BlackRock launched a Bitcoin investment trust. 

And there’s the notorious Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, which reached a discount to net asset value price of almost 50% at the start of the year. Although it recently recovered to a deficit of “just” 20% after winning an SEC lawsuit.

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