Japanese financial group SBI has said it will be the first globally to launch a principal digital asset dealing desk after acquiring UK crypto market maker B2C2.
The deal follows news in July that SBI Financial Services, the subsidiary of SBI Holdings, had agreed to take a minority stake in B2C2 for $30 million.
SBI said the acquisition placed it at the “centre of the cryptocurrency markets”, making it a natural entry point for institutions seeking a sell-side counterparty to trade in cryptocurrencies.
“B2C2 has an exceptional reputation for its world-class products and services, superb technology and valuable client base,” said Yoshitaka Kitao, president and chief executive of SBI Holdings.
Headquartered in London, B2C2 was previously appointed as the primary liquidity provider for SBI, allowing its institutional clients to trade through the firm’s platform. Since then, B2C2’s volumes have surged at B2C2 and across SBI’s digital exchange.
“With Bitcoin hitting an all-time high this month, it is dawning on everyone in finance that crypto is here to stay,” said Max Boonen, founder of B2C2. “The timing could not be better for SBI, a financial firm admired for its farsightedness, who is not simply dipping in but opening a new chapter for the industry.
“The integration is well underway, with both firms’ client bases already benefiting from our combined capabilities. We share a bold vision of the influence that crypto will exert on financial markets over the coming decade.”
The move by SBI to launch a dealing desk for digital assets marks an important step in the facilitation of institutional adoption of crypto. In recent years, institutional crypto exchanges have been launched globally and banks have made efforts to support the space with custody and post-trade services.