The digital asset platform Anchorage Digital announced today that it has expanded into Asia with five institutional partners, including the Thailand-based crypto exchange Bitkub and the Singapore-based blockchain investment firm FBG Capital.
Anchorage is valued at over $3 billion with backers including Andreessen Horowitz and GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. Its push into Asia displays a new direction for the company, with co-founder and president Diogo Mónica telling Fortune that he expects Asia to represent up to 25% of Anchorage’s business within the next 18 months, with an emphasis on Singapore.
“It’s an exciting market as everyone is moving away from Hong Kong and aggregating around an amazing regulator in the Monetary Authority of Singapore,” he said.
Founded in 2017, Anchorage has found a niche by working with large businesses rather than retail customers. As the first and only federally charted crypto-native bank, Anchorage provides a number of crypto-based services to major institutions—from banks to venture capital firms to sovereign wealth funds—such as custody, buying and selling, and generating returns through various financial instruments.
As traditional financial institutions continue to move into crypto, Anchorage offers an appealing service thanks to its regulatory position—something that Mónica said would be harder to achieve now given the current crackdowns of U.S. agencies, including the Treasury Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
“Given crypto conditions, the tone has shifted because the market has shifted,” Mónica said. “[Anchorage] demonstrates that audits and having oversight really is important for the space.”
Asia is Anchorage’s first major international push. Southeast Asia in particular is a hotspot for crypto development, with three of the top 10 countries in Chainalysis’s recent global adoption index being Vietnam, the Philippines, and Thailand. With many companies moving out of Hong Kong given the hostility of the Chinese government, Singapore has emerged as a hub.
Despite the country’s ascendance, recent remarks by Monetary Authority of Singapore Managing Director Ravi Menon have raised doubts about its future. Several of the highest-profile crypto collapses have been based in Singapore, including the hedge fund Three Arrows Capital and the algorithmic stablecoin project TerraUSD, with Menon signaling that the government needs to create more consumer protection measures.
Mónica said that because Anchorage works with businesses, not retail customers, he welcomes increased regulation.
“Compared to the U.S., with its infighting between regulators and turf wars, it’s a breath of fresh air to have one regulator [in Singapore],” he told Fortune. “From a tone and tenor perspective, it’s still pro-crypto, although more focused on consumer protections.”
Image and article originally from fortune.com. Read the original article here.