Crypto Exchange LastRoots Gets Second Investment from Japan’s SBI

Japan’s SBI Investments has placed another bet on LastRoots to help the platform become a registered trading venue.

SBI Investments, a subsidiary of Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings, has announced a new capital injection in LastRoots. The investment, whose size has not been disclosed, follows the initial bet SBI made on the troubled cryptocurrency exchange in December 2017.

The fresh funds will go towards helping LastRoots improve its internal business systems so it can become a licensed trading venue, according to the statement released on Monday. SBI will not only support the platform financially but also provide its expertise, sending its own executives to “strengthen the management system... support the cryptocurrency exchange business registration [process] and business growth.”

LastRoots raised over 600 million yen ($5.4 million) in an initial coin offering (ICO) in July 2016. It was one of a number of unlicensed cryptocurrency exchanges to be probed by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) in the wake of the January hack of Coincheck and the theft of about $532 million worth of digital coins. The regulator found that LastRoots had insufficient measures in place to protect investors against potential cyber threats and served the company with a business improvement order in April.

Publishing the final results of its on-site inspections, the FSA announced last week that while registrations of new exchange operators would once again be possible, they will be subject to increased scrutiny.

SBI’s investment in LastRoots comes shortly after the company secured regulatory licensing and launched the public version of its own digital currency trading platform, VCTRADE, the world’s first bank-backed cryptocurrency exchange.

Since the beginning of the year, SBI has made several other investments in the digital assets sector, including its bet on Taiwan-based cryptocurrency hardware wallet maker CoolBitX in March and its participation in the $10 million funding round of token exchange Templum. Earlier this month, SBI also invested $15 million in Singapore-based artificial intelligence startup AntWorks.