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Zodia Custody Brings Polkadot to Institutions and Itself to Singapore

Standard Chartered’s digital asset subsidiary has had a busy week, announcing that it will provide institutional support and custody to the Polkadot blockchain, and launching its custodial solutions into the Singapore market for the first time.

Zodia Custody

Zodia Custody, the institution-focused digital assets subsidiary of banking giant Standard Chartered, has hit the news with two announcements regarding future developments at the firm this week.

Yesterday it launched a partnership with Polkadot developers, Parity, providing the blockchain with compliant custody and secure staking services to help improve its accessibility for institutional investors. Zodia will also be involved in collaborative research and development initiatives, according to a press release.

The first stage of the partnership will focus on banking-grade digital asset custody solutions, opening up secure market access to the Polkadot ecosystem for financial institutions. Zodia is a registered virtual assets service provider (VASP) in several European jurisdictions, enabling institutions to operate within their strict compliance and money laundering requirements.

Going forward, Zodia plans to enable the secure staking of Polkadot’s native DOT token, holding the assets in cold storage for safety, so that institutions are able to take a more active role in the network. Zodia Custody CEO, Julian Sawyer, explained that the partnership was a major step towards bridging the gap between traditional finance and digital assets:

“This partnership with Parity is essential to the future of this ecosystem by enabling future institutional participation. Together, we’re making Polkadot’s technology more accessible for institutions, while also bringing all the regulatory, governance, and security expertise we have as a bank-owned and registered entity.”

Earlier in the week, the firm announced that it was making inroads into the Singaporean digital assets market, by setting up a new entity, Zodia Custody (Singapore) Pvt. Limited. This will be the first bank-owned and partnered entity providing digital asset custody for financial institutions in the city-state.

While there is currently no licensing regime for digital asset custody in Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has been developing its ecosystem for digital assets. It recently proposed draft legislation to cover safeguarding, opening a path to integrate this aspect of the industry. Sawyer explained that the firm wants to be in prime position once this happens, telling CoinDesk:

“We want to be where there is a global financial centre as soon as we have a regulatory roadmap that enables us to spend our dollars and invest in a market and that provides the assurance to our clients that we can operate there.”

This is just a part of Zodia’s wider expansion into the Asia-Pacific region. As we Observed back in April, Japan’s SBI Holdings lead a $36 million funding round in Zodia to make it the second-largest shareholder behind Standard Chartered. Part of that deal saw Zodia launch its custody services in the Japanese market.