A unit of Japanese financial conglomerate SBI Holdings, SBI Financial Services is buying a minority stake in London-based crypto market maker B2C2 for $30 million.
This is yet another example of situational-focused crypto players tying up with the incumbent institutions to offer additional services to their clients. Meanwhile, SBI will be getting a new source of revenue, “as a recession has hit their core income stream of local retail traders,” said Reuters.
B2C2 will be the leading liquidity provider of SBI as the latter expands its crypto offerings to millions of its existing customers. On the other hand, the digital asset trading firm will benefit from SBI’s distribution network and financial firepower.
SBI’s balance sheet will complement B2C2’s asset-liability framework “to deliver an execution platform that will not only be a game-changer in crypto but also positions us to expand across asset classes as we set our sights on the $20bn-a-year prime brokerage market,” said Max Boonen, founder of B2C2.
On-Ramp for Institutional Investment
In 2016, B2C2 launched the first crypto-native single dealer platform. Currently, it provides liquidity to banks, exchanges, and hedge funds.
The platform already has a license to operate in Japan, and last year, the firm launched the first OTC streaming price feed and is authorized and regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority.
SBI meanwhile is launching a fully automated facility, an electronic prime brokerage built upon its single dealer platform, to provide competitive two-way prices in the funding market. This capability will expand B2C2’s existing secured financing operation, already lending hundreds of millions of dollars.
“We expect a lot of synergies with B2C2, a firm which has a large number of clients globally and offers abundant liquidity, excellent price competitiveness, and a diverse suite of products for their customers,” said Yoshitaka Kitao, President and CEO of SBI Holdings.
“We will work to develop innovative new crypto products and deepen synergies across our group of companies.”
Competition is Heating Up
Prime brokers provide services to hedge funds and active trading firms, which is a growing trend in the crypto industry.
Earlier this month, Bakkt partnered up with Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital to launch a “white-glove service” for “multi-billion-dollar” asset managers looking to buy and store bitcoin.
Last month, Genesis Capital acquired the London-based custodian, Volt, to join the likes of identity Digital Assets and BitGo and build the “preeminent prime brokerage in the digital currency ecosystem.”
A week after that, Coinbase announced that it is looking to acquire Tagomi, a crypto prime brokerage platform. The deal, however, hasn’t been closed yet and is subject to regulatory approvals.
The crypto industry is fast building the infrastructure for the institutional investors who are currently driving the bitcoin market.
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