Global banks are continuing to expand their cryptocurrency capabilities, with Standard Chartered, the British multinational bank, raising new funding for its crypto platform Zodia.
Bloomberg reported on April 27 that Standard Chartered-backed crypto custody subsidiary Zodia Custody has raised $36 million in a new series A funding round.
The fundraise was led by Japanese financial conglomerate SBI Holdings, which has become Zodia’s second-largest shareholder, according to Zodia Custody CEO Julian Sawyer.
Prior to the funding round, London-based Zodia was backed solely by Standard Chartered and Northern Trust, with Standard Chartered holding a 90% stake in the company. Sawyer said that despite the fundraise, Standard Chartered remains the majority shareholder.
“It is part of our strategy to be bank-backed, and all the good things that that brings,” Sawyer said. “That doesn’t mean there has to be a single bank.”
With the new funding, Standard Chartered’s Zodia plans to expand the number of supported cryptocurrencies, including staked Ether (ETH).
The firm also plans to use the newly raised funds to expand beyond its current markets of Europe and Asia, focusing on opportunities in the Middle East. However, it is cautious about the United States due to regulatory uncertainty surrounding what cryptocurrencies should be considered securities, according to Sawyer.
Zodia recently expanded its business in Japan through a joint venture with SBI Holdings, targeting institutional investors. The joint venture is owned 51% by SBI’s crypto outfit SBI Digital Asset Holdings and 49% by Zodia Custody.
Standard Chartered originally announced plans to provide institutional custody for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) in 2020. Launched in 2021, Zodia has survived the crypto bear market of 2022 and industry collapses such as FTX and Celsius.