Japanese Banking Giant SBI Invests in Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet Maker
In its ever-expanding foray into the cryptocurrency sector, Japanese financial group SBI has now invested in a Taiwan-based cryptocurrency hardware wallet developer.
SBI Holdings, the financial services division of Japan’s SBI Group, has announced its 40% ownership stake in Taiwanese crypto hardware wallet maker CoolBitX. An announcement by SBI Holdings does not reveal the exact amount of the investment in CoolBittX, a hardware maker that specializes in cold wallets.
With its growing portfolio of cryptocurrency-related businesses and operations, SBI Holdings revealed its intent to utilize CoolBitX’s security technology for risk management within its company in areas including the maintenance of customer assets, to further enhance security. The Japanese conglomerate makes a specific mention of CoolBitX’s ‘CoolWallet’, a hardware device used to store private keys to cryptocurrencies that interfaces with iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth.
SBI Holdings, through its venture capital arm SBI Investment, became one of the world’s earliest mainstream conglomerates serving traditional finance to invest in bitcoin exchange Kraken in early 2016. The Japanese financial group followed up with another investment as lead investor in bitFlyer, Japan’s largest and best-funded cryptocurrency exchange. In late 2016, SBI announced its intention to launch its own cryptocurrency exchange win what would be the country’s first bank-backed exchange platform. Despite its registration with Japan’s financial regulator, the launch of the exchange has been postponed due to security concerns, as reported recently.
SBI is also drawing plans to issue its own blockchain-based digital currency, directly tradeable with the Japanese yen, for usage in payments and instant P2P transfers. SBI Holdings has notably co-launched SBI Ripple Asia with San Francisco-based Ripple to propel the adoption of blockchain-based real-time cross-border payments among banks in a number of ASEAN countries.