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Nomura’s Big Crypto Bet

Although the crypto winter of 2022 has disrupted the entire crypto industry, traditional banking giants are showing confidence in the sector. Japanese banking giant Nomura Holdings is planning to turn its crypto unit – Laser Digital – profitable in two years.

Nomura launched its digital assets arm earlier this year in September 2022. Laser Digital has the backing of Nomura investment bank to attract institutional investors. Besides, Nomura’s crypto unit also plans to expand its team to 50 members by March.

Laser Digital’s Chief Executive Officer Jez Mohideen said with the FTX shakeout, key crypto assets are available at low and attractive valuations. He also stated that the firm is careful with risk management. The latest statement from Nomura comes a day after banking giant Goldman Sachs expressed similar interest in the crypto space. In an interview with Bloomberg, Mohideen said:

“The latest events in the crypto market will provide an opportunity for us as it will drive institutional investors to digital-asset firms backed by traditional finance houses. We’ve run all the stress tests and assuming worse-case scenarios in terms of market volume, price volatility, we believe we can turn profitable within two years.”

Despite a big round in the crypto sector this year, traditional banks have been making a move. Even with crypto valuations tanking by 70% over the last year, the Nomura executive says: “We can’t look at this asset class based on the market price. You need to believe in it, invest in it and take a five-to-10 year view.”

Nomura has made a multi-year capital commitment to Laser Digital. “Nomura is taking the digital-assets business very seriously,” said Mohideen. “The intention and the vision of this entity is to be a significant revenue driver for Nomura group”.

The bank’s crypto unit Laser Digital will have three business verticals: asset management, trading, and a venture capital fund. Trading will be the “core engine” of the crypto unit’s business. On the other hand, Laser Digital Ventures will invest in early-stage startups building institutional-grade crypto products.

Earlier in May 2022, the Japanese banking giant also started offering its clients Bitcoin derivatives trading services.


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