Nomura Launches Crypto VC Unit to Invest in Web3 and Blockchain Infrastructure

Japanese investment banking giant Nomura has launched Laser Digital, a crypto venture capital unit dedicated to investing in DeFi, CeFi, web3 and blockchain infrastructure.
Image source: Regulation Asia

Quick take:

  • Japanese investment banking giant has launched its crypto VC unit.
  • NFTgators revealed in May company was launching digital assets subsidiary.
  • The new unit dubbed Laser Digital be chaired by Steven Ashley, who steps down from his role as the head of trading and investment banking.

Nomura has announced the launch of its crypto venture unit, Laser Digital. The Japanese investment banking giant revealed in May that it was launching a new subsidiary focused on digital assets.

According to the press statement published on the company’s website on Wednesday, Laser Digital will invest in decentralised finance (DeFi), centralised finance (CeFi), web3, and blockchain infrastructure projects.

The company said the first product to launch from the new unit will be called Laser Venture Capital. Nomura joins a growing list of mainstream financial institutions jumping on the web3 market.

Earlier this year, HSBC launched a metaverse fund for rich Asian clients, while Invesco announced last month it was launching a thematic fund focusing on the burgeoning metaverse and web3 space.

According to Nomura’s earlier announcement in May, the company planned to use the new digital assets subsidiary as a vehicle for investing in “products and services linked to cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, DeFi, NFTs and other tokens.”

Commenting on the official launch of Laser Digital, Kentaro Okuda, Nomura Holdings, Inc., President and Group CEO, said: “Staying at the forefront of digital innovation is a key priority for Nomura. This is why, alongside our efforts to diversify our business, we announced earlier this year that Nomura would be setting up a new subsidiary focused on digital assets. We look forward to sustainable growth in this new business under the leadership of Steven and Jez“

The company named Steven Ashley as the new chair of the Switzerland-based unit after stepping down from his position as the head of trading and investment banking. 

The company is backing the new subsidiary to succeed under the leadership of Ashley whose tenure as head of trading was scarred by losses from Archegos Capital Management.

The web3 space has been one of the most vibrant investment opportunities for venture capital firms in 2022 according to Reuters. According to the report published on July 26, VCs pumped $17.6 billion into crypto during the first half of 2022, putting capital flow into the sector on course to surpass last year’s $26.9 billion.

CrunchBase’s web3 tracker indicates that $88 billion has now flown into the space since the company started gathering data on web3 startup funding in 2019, creating 79 unicorns out of the 15,833 companies that have received funding from VCs.

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