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Standard Chartered’s Crypto Security Firm Zodia Custody Launches in Hong Kong

Zodia Custody, the crypto security firm under the umbrella of British banking giant Standard Chartered, launched its operations in Hong Kong. This marks the latest strategic expansion into the Asia-Pacific region for the U.K.-headquartered firm. Zodia Custody, founded in 2020, specializes in assisting financial institutions in securely storing their cryptocurrencies, media reports said.

Zodia Custody’s CEO Julian Sawyer highlighted Hong Kong’s unique market dynamics, emphasizing that the demand for crypto in the region is primarily driven by institutions rather than retail customers. Sawyer noted that both the Hong Kong government and regulators view digital assets as the future and aspire for Hong Kong to become a hub in this evolving landscape.

Zodia has been actively expanding its footprint in Asia, recently introducing its services in Japan, Singapore, and Australia. Partially owned by Standard Chartered, along with Northern Trust and Japan’s SBI Holdings, Hong Kong is the final destination in Zodia’s comprehensive tour across the Asia-Pacific region.

Sawyer expressed optimism about the potential in the region, stating, “What we’re seeing is there are absolutely clients in all of those four markets who want to do things. We also see a lot of other clients and prospects outside those four jurisdictions that want to come in on the institutional side.”

Despite China’s broader anti-crypto stance, Hong Kong has been embracing crypto assets. The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) introduced a regulatory regime for digital assets earlier this year, enabling companies to apply for registration and provide services in a regulated manner. Currently, only two firms, OSL Digital and Hash Blockchain, have obtained licenses from the SFC.

Zodia plans to undertake its Hong Kong expansion in a phased approach, initially offering services for Hong Kong clients with a limited set of crypto assets. The company is actively engaged in discussions with both the SFC and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority regarding regulatory compliance in the financial district.

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