Japan’s SMBC Joins the Web3 Race in Partnership with HashPort

Japanese banking giant has joined a growing list of venture capital firms teaming up with Web3 startups to invest in NFTs.
Image source: SMBC

Quick take:

  • Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp (SMBC) is joining the Web3 race.
  • The NYSE-listed financial institution is partnering with blockchain startup HashPort on NFTs and Web3 projects.
  • The Japanese banking giant has launched Token Business Lab, which it will run together with its Web3 partner.

Venture capital firms are pouncing on the Web3 opportunity with aplomb. Even the crypto winter could not slow the rate of investment flowing into the new space, dubbed the next iteration of the internet. 

On Monday, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp (NYSE:SMFG), popularly known as SMBC Group revealed plans to jump on the Web3 train. The Japanese banking giant has teamed up with blockchain startup HashPort to launch NFTs and Web3 projects.

SMBC is joining another locally-based banking giant SoftBank, which has invested in several web3 companies through its venture arm, SoftBank Vision Fund 2

Overall, SMBC is joining a growing list of venture capital firms looking to take advantage of the market during the crypto winter. Earlier this month, Multicoin Capital raised $430 million for its crypto fund, which it plans to invest in creator monetisation projects among other Web3 ventures.

The blockchain-focused VC has already put its fund to use with investment in Modular Capital and Aptos Labs.

Previously, Andreessen Horowitz raised $4.5 billion for its crypto fund, while Binance secured $500 million. Flow Blockchain’s parent Dapper Labs also launched a $725 million fund to expand its ecosystem offerings, while Felix Capital closed a $600 million fund.

Several VCs have taken the capital participation route, while others like SMBC are opting for collaborative partnerships. In March, Japan’s largest banking group Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (NYSE:MUFG) signed an agreement with leading blockchain investment company Animoca Brands to support the development of the NFT market, while Nomura inked a deal with SBI to launch a new subsidiary focused on investing in web3 projects.

SMBC is planning to develop its own token and will also seek cooperation with enterprises eager to dive into the Web3 craze with NFT projects. The company has launched the Token Business Lab together with HashPort to drive its Web3 strategy.

It plans to use the unit to experiment on several Web3 projects, including NFTs.

While bearing a name similar to the HashPort token, HashPort is Japan-based and has no relationship with the cross-chain utility token.

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