Capital markets News

Nomura’s Laser backs Kelp DAO and RWA tokenization blockchain MANTRA

laser digital mantra kelp

This week, Nomura’s Laser Digital said it backed two digital asset ventures, Kelp DAO and MANTRA Chain, which adds to its significant venture portfolio. 

Last month it announced a partnership with Kelp DAO to introduce re-staking to Laser’s digital funds. Now it has co-led the $9 million Kelp DAO funding alongside proprietary trading firm SCB (not the Thai bank SCB). 

MANTRA Chain targets RWA tokenization

Additionally, Laser Digital invested in MANTRA Chain, which is developing a permissionless Layer 1 blockchain to tokenize real world assets (RWA). 

MANTRA closed an $11 million funding in March, making Laser Digital’s strategic investment an extension of that round. 

“Laser Digital’s investment is not just financial but an endorsement of our mission to make RWA accessible and operable through blockchain technology,” said John Patrick Mullin, CEO and Co-Founder of MANTRA. “Laser’s expertise and network in the financial sectors will be invaluable as we expand our technological footprint.”

The MANTRA Chain isn’t yet live, but it recently launched its HongBai testnet. The testnet’s name is a nod to its head office in Dubai and satellite office in Hong Kong. Laser Digital also has a presence in Dubai, with licenses from Dubai’s VARA and an in-principle approval for a license from the Abu Dhabi Global Market.

The MANTRA Chain contains built-in compliance modules, including KYC, decentralized identity and transaction monitoring, to support regulated digital assets. It uses Cosmos blockchain technology, which was designed with interoperability at its core.

While MANTRA Chain claims to be the first regulatory-compliant chain in the Cosmos ecosystem, we’re not so sure. Figure Technologies launched the Provenance blockchain back in 2018. It also uses the Cosmos SDK and has several billion of regulated assets on chain, including real estate debt and asset backed securities.

Meanwhile, Laser Digital’s investments span tokenization, asset management, crypto, DeFi and the metaverse. On the tokenization front, it is a co-founder of the Libre fund tokenization protocol. It also backed the Solv Protocol for asset management.