Japanese financial conglomerate SBI Holdings Inc is holding talks with offshore financial firms to create a cryptocurrency joint venture. The CEO said the move is a result of the company’s plans to grow the business as a core pillar of profitability.
SBI is the largest online brokerage in Japan and has been providing cryptocurrency trading services since 2018.
The comments of Yoshitaka Kitao, who founded the company in 1999, came when cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum emerged as alternative investment destinations and global investors welcomed the fast-growing market.
Kitao told the release that the view on cryptocurrencies has changed, and investors worldwide are now looking for some form of space exposure. He even cited Elon Musk and Tesla’s announcements that the electric vehicle maker raised more than $1.5 billion in Bitcoin as an alternative investment holding company.
Kitao told Reuters that institutional investors, mostly hedge funds, have recently started investing in cryptocurrencies. Not just institutional investors, but Elon Musk too.
Kitao did not provide further details on the international companies negotiating with SBI but emphasized that the company will seek to make joint ventures an important part of its business and a source of future revenue. According to a Reuters report, SBI reported pre-tax profits from trading cryptocurrencies and carrying out transactions worth an estimated $63.9 million in 2020.
He added that to become number one in the world, they can buy a leading company or forging an alliance with a large global company. Their merger and acquisition strategy will not be like acquiring a minority stake in many companies.
To expand its cryptocurrency portfolio, SBI bought into the local Tao Tao exchange last year and acquired a 90% stake in London-based crypto maker B2C2. Profit before tax from taxes on the cryptocurrency business was 6.7 billion yen ($63.9 million) for the nine months ended December, an 83% increase over the same period last year.
“Certainly,” said Kitao when asked if the business would be one of SBI’s most important sources of income. He also suggested considering large-scale mergers and acquisitions (M&A).
As reported by BTCManager, SBI has also launched a crypto lending service through the bitcoin trading section of the SBI VC Trade. This service offers lenders an annual return of one percent, and consumers can provide at least 0.1 BTC.
Specifically, the team explained that lenders will get up to one percent APY of their Bitcoin holdings and that each contract has a validity of 84 days. More digital currencies will be added soon, including XRP and Ether.
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