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Standard Chartered-owned Crypto Firm Zodia Expands to Singapore, Targeting Asia-Pacific Crypto Custody Market

Zodia Custody, a subsidiary of Standard Chartered, has expanded its presence by launching in Singapore, aiming to capitalize on the rapidly growing digital asset market in the country. This move positions Zodia as the first entity owned by and partnering with banks to offer digital asset custody services for financial institutions in Singapore.

Standard Chartered, a British bank with a strong presence in emerging markets, initiated the establishment of Zodia in 2021, in collaboration with Northern Trust. This strategic move highlighted the increasing interest of major financial institutions in engaging with digital currencies. Additionally, Zodia has received investments from SBI Digital Asset Holdings, the crypto division of Japanese bank SBI, as part of which SBI committed to launching its own custody business in Japan.

Zodia’s expansion into Singapore is driven by the rising demand from institutions for secure custody services for digital assets. The company intends to further expand its footprint across the Asia-Pacific region to cater to this demand and to serve its existing clients in the region.

According to Zodia CEO Julian Sawyer, Singapore is on the path to achieving greater maturity in terms of establishing regulatory frameworks for crypto assets and the development of central bank digital currencies. This aligns well with Zodia’s objectives and its belief that a bank-owned custodian is what the market needs.

Zodia provides services to a wide range of clients, including hedge funds, high-frequency traders, prime brokers, exchanges, and asset managers. Its association with Standard Chartered, a highly reputable brand in Singapore, has been instrumental in facilitating discussions with major financial firms.

Singapore has witnessed rapid growth in digital asset adoption, with a crypto ownership rate of 19%, surpassing the global average of 15%, according to Statista. Despite challenges faced by the crypto industry, funding for crypto companies in Singapore has remained robust. In 2022, crypto and blockchain led fintech investments in the country, attracting $1.2 billion in funding, as reported in KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech report for the second half of 2022. While crypto-related funding experienced a 21% decline in Singapore, global crypto startups raised $23.1 billion in 2022, reflecting a 23% year-over-year decrease.

Zodia’s expansion into Singapore follows its recent move into Abu Dhabi, where it received in-principle regulatory approval. This strategic expansion aims to leverage Abu Dhabi’s crypto-friendly regulatory environment and its status as a financial hub in the United Arab Emirates.