Japan’s SBI Mulls Cryptocurrency Derivatives Platform

SBI has acquired a minority stake in US-based swaps trading venue Clear Markets in a deal that includes the launch of a new crypto marketplace.

SBI Crypto Investment, the virtual currency and blockchain subsidiary of Japanese financial services giant SBI Group, has taken a 12% stake in Clear Market, a developer of digital marketplaces. This marks SBI’s latest move to expand in the crypto space, with the deal including the joint development of swaps digital coin offerings for professional investors.

The Japanese company’s crypto business is mostly retail-oriented, so the new market will add “the missing piece” to its offering, Mamoru Fujimoto, SBI head of investments in blockchain and artificial intelligence, told the Financial Times.

“As much as 50 per cent of cash trading in cryptocurrency has taken pace in Japan, so that is a nice place for us to start,” Clear Markets CEO Mark Brickell said with regard to the swaps.

Headquartered in the US state of North Carolina, Clear Markets is part of Quick Corporation, whose owner is Japanese media giant Nikkei. Clear Markets was established in 2012 and has been registered with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as a Swap Execution Facility (SEF). Every SEF must comply with the so-called Core Principles of the federal Commodity Exchange Act, including the financial integrity of transactions, timely publication of trading information, recordkeeping, and reporting conflicts of interests to the CFTC.

The investment in Clear Markets continues SBI’s push into the crypto market, where the Japanese group has been very active. SBI, which is a miner of Bitcoin Cash (BCH), invested in July in a Canadian wind power company that provides electricity for the “creation” of cryptocurrencies.

Last month, SBI also launched the first bank-run cryptocurrency exchange, VCTRADE, through its Simushin Net Bank subsidiary.