Just over a year ago, we reported that Standard Chartered‘s SC Ventures had entered into a partnership with Hong Kong-listed BC Technology Group to launch a digital asset brokerage and exchange. Today sees the launch of the Zodia Markets joint venture in the UK and EU, after receiving authorization from the UK regulator, the FCA. BC is the parent of the Hong Kong OSL crypto platfrom. We reveal a little about the ownership structure below.
The Zodia brand is also used by Zodia Custody, a separate Standard Chartered joint venture with Northern Trust that launched a year ago.
“Whilst the digital asset markets have recently seen volatility and downward pressure, adoption continues unabated, with institutions entering the market at rapid pace,” said Zodia Markets CEO, Usman Ahmad. “At Zodia Markets, our mission is to be the most trusted trading partner for institutional participants as they navigate this rapidly evolving asset class.”
In targeting institutions, the platform uses FIX API connectivity and the same electronic trading standards as traditional equities, FX or fixed income.
“Combining OSL’s deep expertise in operating regulatory compliant digital asset businesses and cutting-edge technology, with the bank’s governance, regulatory oversight, and frontier markets experience, Zodia Markets is in prime position to provide secure, reliable and compliant access to digital assets for its institutional client base,” said Alex Manson, Head of SC Ventures.
BC paid half the price for its stock
It’s widely known that crypto expertise is in short supply. This is reflected in the joint venture arrangement. OSL / BC Technology owns just under 25% of the company but only contributed 14% of the funds. Standard Chartered paid more than twice the price for each of its shares. $12.5 million was invested in June 2021, with another $12.5 million in the same proportions this month.
Earlier this week, OSL was involved in the first regulated security token offering in Hong Kong in a proof of concept issuance. The novel security token bond was issued on the Ethereum blockchain with a coupon linked to the performance of Bitcoin.