Japanese Leading Bank Nomura to Create Venture Capital Arm Focused on Cryptocurrencies

On Wednesday, the formation of Laser Digital Holdings, a venture capital division specializing in cryptocurrencies, was announced by Nomura Holdings, a Japanese financial holding firm and Nomura Group’s primary member. Following a series of banking behemoths joining the bitcoin market this year, Nomura made its move.

Nomura Holdings, a major player in Japanese investment banking, is entering the market for crypto assets and will introduce many “new services and product lines” in the upcoming months. One of the biggest and most established investment banks in Japan is Nomura. The investing firm, then known as Nomura Securities, was founded in Osaka, Japan, 97 years ago.

According to Nomura’s press release, the new Laser Digital Holdings, a holding company with Swiss corporate status, intends to launch three vertical product lines: investor goods, venture capital, and secondary trading. Jez Mohideen will serve as the new company’s CEO, while Steven Ashley will serve as Laser Digital’s chairman. Switzerland’s well-established and “robust regulatory regime” influenced the decision.

“Staying at the forefront of digital innovation is a key priority for Nomura,” the investment bank’s president and CEO Kentaro Okuda said. “This is why, alongside our efforts to diversify our business, we announced earlier this year that Nomura would be setting up a new subsidiary focused [on] digital assets.”

The newest offering from Nomura comes after Tuesday’s announcement of Nasdaq’s new crypto custody initiative. Additionally, before the announcements from Nomura and Nasdaq, Fidelity Digital Assets, Citadel Securities, and Charles Schwab Corp. launched a joint initiative with ambitions to build a cryptocurrency exchange that will serve retail and institutional clients. The three financial institutions have given the exchange the moniker EDX Markets (EDXM), and the trading platform’s CEO is former Citadel Securities executive Jamil Nazarali.

The first product Laser Digital intends to release is a venture capital (VC) unit dubbed Laser Venture Capital, as per the Japanese banking behemoth Nomura. According to Nomura’s press release, “[The new unit] will invest in companies in the digital ecosystem, with a focus on decentralized finance (defi), centralized finance (cefi), Web3, and blockchain infrastructure.”

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