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Standard Chartered-Owned Crypto Custody Firm, Zodia Expands its Asia Pacific Presence; Launches in Hong Kong

Zodia Custody, the institutional crypto security and custody firm co-owned by Standard Chartered, Japanese SBI Holdings, and Northern Trust, has launched its services in Hong Kong.

Founded in 2020 and headquartered in London, Zodia has recently closed its Series A funding round led by Japanese SBI Holdings with an inflow of $36 million. Its primary offering is safe and secure storage of cryptocurrencies for financial institutions, and the platform currently supports 38 digital assets, including Bitcoin, Ether, and USDT, among others. According to its Q3 financial report, Zodia holds $825.8 billion in total assets.

Rationale Behind the Hong Kong Launch

In an exclusive interview with CNBC, Julian Sawyer, CEO of Zodia, explained that the growing demand for crypto usage among corporates in Hong Kong is the primary reason behind this launch. Julian further mentioned that the demand for crypto in Hong Kong is mainly driven by institutions rather than retail consumers, thus justifying Zodia’s launch in that market, given its institutional crypto custody offering. 

“The Hong Kong government and the regulators see digital assets as the future and also want Hong Kong to be a hub.”, he added.

This is Zodia’s fourth entry in the Asia-Pacific region. Previously, the firm launched its services in Australia, Japan, and Singapore.  Commenting on the prospect of the crypto market in the APAC region, Julian said, “What we are seeing is there are absolutely clients in all of those four markets who want to do things. We also see a lot of other clients and prospects outside those four jurisdictions that want to come in on the institutional side.”

Crypto Regulation Environment in Hong Kong

Despite the anti-crypto sentiments in China, Hong Kong has adopted a comparatively bullish approach when it comes to the adoption of cryptocurrencies. Earlier this year, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) introduced a regulatory regime allowing crypto firms to register themselves and offer crypto-oriented services within the regulatory guidelines.

Currently, OSL Digital and Hash Blockchain are the only companies with secured regulatory licenses in Hong Kong. Zodia is also in talks with the SFC and Hong Kong Monetary Authority, striving to secure those licenses in the jurisdiction. Currently, the firm only offers a limited set of services to users in Hong Kong and plans to expand in the coming months.

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