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SC Ventures, the investment arm of the Standard Chartered bank, and SBI Holdings, the Japanese financial conglomerate, have partnered to set up a $100 million crypto vehicle in the United Arab Emirates.

The vehicle, in the form of a joint venture, plans to invest in crypto across areas such as decentralized finance, tokenization, infrastructure, payments and the metaverse, the two companies said Thursday. It aims to invest globally, covering seed to Series C funding rounds.

The news comes with crypto markets showing signs of recovery, hinting at potentially bullish sentiment. Bitcoin is currently trading at about $36,800, marking a year-to-date gain of over 120%. Spot crypto trading volume on centralized exchanges also increased in October following four months of decline. If those metrics point to renewed interest in crypto, it is likely in anticipation of a spot bitcoin ETF approval early next year.

‘Strategic and minority investments’

The SC Ventures and SBI Holdings joint venture plans to make “strategic and minority investments” in crypto startups, said Alex Manson, CEO of SC Ventures, in a statement. “The Joint Venture will leverage SC Ventures’ experience in digital assets through our ventures, such as Zodia Custody and Zodia Markets, and through our investments in fintechs like Ripple and Metaco,” he added.

In May, SC Ventures exited its stake in Metaco as Ripple acquired it for $250 million. Meanwhile, SC Ventures and SBI Holdings have previously invested in the same startups, including Solv, Zodia Custody and myZoi.

SBI Holdings is also launching a separate fund by the end of this year to invest up to 100 billion yen ($663 million) in web3, AI, and fintech startups, as reported by Nikkei today. Japanese financial giants Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mizuho Bank, Nippon Life Insurance, and Daiwa Securities Group have reportedly already decided to invest more than 50 billion yen in the fund.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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