Standard Chartered’s Crypto Bet: Zodia Custody Targets Hong Kong’s Wealthy Institutions

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Zodia Custody, a crypto-security firm owned by multinational bank Standard Chartered, has set its sights on the Asia-Pacific region, beginning with a launch in Hong Kong. This development, according to CNBC, marks a significant extension for the firm.

CEO Julian Sawyer points out that Hong Kong presents an environment where institutional demand for crypto services prevails over retail interest, aligning with Zodia’s client profile.

Zodia’s Asia-Pacific Expansion And Focus

In a quest to cement its presence in the Asia-Pacific, Zodia Custody has been on an expansion trail. Following forays into Japan, Singapore, and Australia, Hong Kong represents the latest and final destination in Zodia’s current regional roadmap, according to CEO Julian Sawyer.

Sawyer noted the company’s observation of a clear desire among clients across these markets to engage with digital assets. The CEO stated:

What we’re 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.

Furthermore, according to CNBC, Zodia is initiating its services by catering to local clients with a limited selection of crypto.

In addition, the custody is in active discussions with Hong Kong’s regulatory bodies, including the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), to navigate the territory’s regulatory landscape.

The Battle For Hong Kong’s Crypto Dominance Heats Up

Notably, Hong Kong’s crypto landscape appears to be fast becoming a hotbed for major financial players, and it’s not just Standard Chartered’s Zodia Custody making strategic moves.

The region also seems to be attracting other global giants, with Binance reportedly positioning itself as a key player in Hong Kong’s crypto market.

As noted by Bitcoinist, citing insights from the South China Morning Post, Binance may be orchestrating a play in Hong Kong through HKVAEX, a new crypto trading platform. Despite HKVAEX’s claims of independence under BX Services Limited, it reportedly shares key resources with Binance, notably its servers for data retrieval.

While Binance maintains that “HKVAEX is not part of the Binance Group of companies,” the distinctions in terminology are worth paying attention to. The local news media highlighted that the term “Binance group,” as defined in their service terms, pertains to its digital asset trading ecosystem.

This is distinct from “Binance Affiliates,” which could imply a broader, less direct relationship. The South China Morning Post further disclosed this nuance. It noted the benefits an independent exchange in Hong Kong could offer Binance, especially as the company navigates through legal and liquidity challenges in other global markets.

The global crypto market cap value on TradingView
The global crypto market cap value on the 1-day chart. Source: Crypto TOTAL Market Cap on TradingView.com

Featured image from Unsplash, Chart from TradingView

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