Nomura-backed digital asset custodian Komainu raises $25m

Photo by Andre Francois on Unsplash

Komainu, the digital asset custodian backed by Japanese investment bank Nomura Holdings Inc, has raised $25 million in a funding round led by veteran hedge fund manager Alan Howard, the company said on Tuesday.

Other investors in the round included Galaxy Digital, NOIA Capital and Nomura Research Institute, which will act as strategic partners to the custodian, Komainu said.

Howard is the co-founder of investment firms Brevan Howard, and most recently blockchain and cryptocurrency-focused Elwood Asset Management.

Komainu, which safeguards bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies on behalf of financial institutions was launched last June as a joint venture between Nomura, digital asset security firm Ledger, and digital asset investment house CoinShares.

It has more than $3 billion in assets under custody and will use the funding to grow its team, develop new technology and expand geographically, Komainu President Henson Orser said in an interview.

The funding round comes amid a rally in bitcoin’s price, as more institutional investors warm to the virtual currency which many see as a hedge against inflation.

Having first established Komainu in 2018, Nomura was one of the earliest large financial institutions looking to offer services in the nascent asset class. Since then more mainstream firms have entered or announced cryptocurrency moves including Fidelity and Bank of New York Mellon Corp.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc will start trading bitcoin derivatives on behalf of clients this month, Reuters reported last week.

Jezri Mohideen, the wholesale chief digital officer at Nomura, said in an interview that the bank decided to start its activities in the sector by tackling custody because the need for institutional-grade safeguarding of bitcoin was one of the largest issues holding back professional investors from the asset.

“We understood all the pain points and we learned a lot,” Mohideen said. “We are ready for the next phase of the institutionalization of the asset class.”

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.