A year ago, Japan’s SBI announced plans for a joint digital asset venture fund with Swiss digital asset bank Sygnum. Today the Singapore fund was unveiled with up to $75 million in investment and with Italian fund manager Azimut as a partner.
Azimut, which has EUR 75 billion ($88 bn) in assets under management, has an existing relationship with Sygnum. Earlier this year, it tokenized €5 million ($6m) in SME loans as a digital security on Sygnum’s platform. SBI invested more than $10 million in Sygnum earlier this year.
SBI Ven Capital will operate the new fund and plans to invest in early-stage companies that focus on blockchain infrastructure, decentralized finance (DeFi), and regulatory technology, mainly in Southeast Asia and Europe. A security token offering (STO) will also be used to raise capital.
While not mentioned in the announcement, SBI has a stake in security token platform BOOSTRY, which Nomura founded. Other SBI subsidiaries have already used BOOSTRY for security token issuance. And Sygnum has its security token platform as well.
In other blockchain news from SBI this week, it has acquired a non-fungible token (NFT) company, Smart App, which is being renamed SBINFT. The platform supports the primary issuance of NFTs and secondary market trading. SBI said the business is complementary to other existing subsidiaries such as cryptocurrency exchange SBI VC Trade, SBI Art Auction, which deals in contemporary art, and SBI e-Sports. It sounds as though art is a key focus as it emphasized that Smart App can ensure the authenticity of art.
Additionally, SBI announced that it has collaborated with three regional chambers of commerce for a blockchain-based gift certificate solution as part of a regional revitalization program. The platform is using R3’s Corda for payment settlement for gift certificates. SBI has a joint venture in Japan with R3, SBI R3.