SBI reportedly looks to launch crypto fund in Japan by December

Japanese financial conglomerate SBI Holdings is reportedly planning to set up one of the first funds in the country giving investors exposure to crypto. 

According to a Thursday Bloomberg report, SBI, aiming to have a crypto fund available by the end of November, will offer residents of Japan the opportunity to invest in Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), XRP, and others. Tomoya Asakura, a director and senior managing executive officer at SBI, said the company could see the fund growing to several hundred million dollars, with investors likely being required to deposit a minimum of 1-3 million yen, or $9,093-$27,279 at the time of publication.

“I want people to hold [crypto] together with other assets and experience firsthand how useful it can be for diversifying portfolios,” said Asakura. He added that SBI would consider launching a second crypto fund depending on the success of the first.

The crypto fund would potentially be launched amid the country’s financial watchdog, the Financial Services Agency, or FSA, not allowing companies to operate crypto investment trusts. The regulator also requires compulsory national registration for crypto exchanges and licensing for platforms looking to operate in Japan.

According to Asakura, he will be working to show the Japanese public and the FSA that cryptocurrencies can be part of a well-balanced investment portfolio rather than “highly volatile and speculative” assets as many believe. SBI has been working for four years to launch the crypto fund, which it now plans to do using an “anonymous partnership” — partnering with an investor that agrees to supply capital to SBI, an arrangement sometimes used for private equity funds in Japan.

“[People] will understand that we aren’t recommending cryptocurrencies as a tool of speculation,” said Asakura.

Related: SBI looking to set up joint crypto ventures with foreign firms

Japanese regulators have reportedly been hiring more staff to develop stricter global rules for digital currencies. Cointelegraph reported in July that the country’s Ministry of Finance was considering adding experienced regulators in an effort to scrutinize the crypto and blockchain industry worldwide, while the FSA has already established a new unit to oversee digital currency regulation.

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