Asset manager abrdn has concluded a deal to become the largest external shareholder in London-based digital securities exchange Archax.
There are no financial details. Archax was established four years ago and provides access for institutional investors to blockchain-based digital assets.
Archax says it is the “first and only digital securities exchange that has won approval from the FCA with permissions covering trading, custody and brokerage”. The exchange will launch later this year.
abrdn CEO Stephen Bird explains: “Blockchain technologies are inevitably going to form a big part of the future of financial markets. There is the potential to offer greater transparency, greater speed and less trading friction by using these nascent digital technologies.”
He adds: “Archax is one of the most promising UK players in this next expected high growth area in finance – the use of digital and tokenised securities with same-day settlement. In that sense, the growth of the digital investment market is about much more than cryptocurrencies.”
The deal comes at a chaotic time for the crypto sector, and eWeek UK recently discussed the crypto winter here.
- Other interests exist – read about ‘abrdn and University of Edinburgh Unveil £7.5m Centre for Investing Innovation’ here
For example, Blockchain.com recently said it is cutting 25% of its workforce. US cryptocurrency broker Voyager Digital has filed for bankruptcy protection, blaming the move on “volatility and contagion” in the markets. Crypto lending platform Celsius has also filed for bankruptcy in the US. While Coinbase faces an SEC probe over its crypto listings.
That said, the Financial Times reported last week that Coinbase will connect to Aladdin, BlackRock’s increasingly ubiquitous investment technology platform. The system, which supplies essential plumbing to the global investment industry, will give the asset manager’s clients access to crypto. The first token available will be Bitcoin, but others may come later.
The price of Bitcoin currently stands at £20,002 – a fall of 39% over the last six months.
Edinburgh-based abrdn doesn’t seem too bothered by all the drama and reckons the Archax deal gives it a “meaningful footprint in this fast-developing market”.
In other news, abrdn teamed with the University of Edinburgh in April to create an industry-academic partnership.
They will establish the Centre for Investing Innovation with funding of £7.5 million over five years from abrdn. It will be based within the University’s Edinburgh Futures Institute.
Last year, abrdn said it will acquire investment platform interactive investor for £1.5 billion.
interactive investor works in the B2C sector but also offers company accounts. These allow users to trade in the name of a UK limited company in a range of investments, including UK and international equities, funds, ETFs and investment trusts.