SC Ventures, the innovation and ventures unit of Standard Chartered, and digital asset firm BC Technology Group have formed a joint venture to establish a digital asset brokerage and exchange platform for institutional and corporate clients in the United Kingdom and Europe.
BC Group chief information officer Usman Ahmad will be chief executive officer of the new company, and Nick Philpott of SC Ventures will be chief operating officer.
The venture will be underpinned by BC Group's leading OSL digital-asset technology and Standard Chartered's global network and experience in brokerage and providing access to European markets.
Based in the UK, and initially targeting the European market, the company will connect institutional traders to counterparties across markets, delivering access to deep pools of liquidity in Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital assets. The JV aims to launch in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals.
Ahmad, the venture’s incoming CEO, says: "With total market capitalization of digital assets over US$1 trillion, collaboration between market-leading firms is imperative to the continued development of robust global institutional digital asset infrastructure. The JV will aid in maturing the digital asset ecosystem by combining OSL's expertise in regulatory-compliant, secure institutional digital asset trading with SC Ventures' proven capability to develop future technology capabilities in banking and finance."
Digital-asset trading has expanded significantly since 2017. The total value of trading volume on major digital-asset exchanges averages over US$4 billion daily. This growth has drawn the attention of institutional customers, many of whom are now looking to access the asset class for the first time.
The JV further strengthens the position of Standard Chartered and BC Group in the development of global digital-asset infrastructure. In December 2020, SC Ventures announced a strategic partnership with Northern Trust to launch Zodia Custody, an institutional-grade custody solution for digital assets. Zodia is designed to enable institutions to invest in digital assets that are transforming how financial markets operate, including transaction and settlement.
In addition, Standard Chartered has invested in core blockchain technology provider Metaco and is collaborating with the Bank of Thailand and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to explore distributed ledger interoperability for cross-border fund transfers.
BC Group is the parent company of OSL, a digital asset platform which in December 2020 receivee Type 1 (dealing in securities) and Type 7 (automated trading service) licences from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.