Zodia Markets, a cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage focused on institutions, has gone live with the backing of a banking giant Standard Chartered (STAN).

U.K.-based Zodia Markets is a sister company of Zodia Custody, the digital assets safekeeping platform, and both firms share the same backers in SC Ventures, the venture arm of Standard Chartered, and Northern Trust (NTRS).

Zodia Markets is also working closely with Hong Kong based BC Technology Group, the owner of crypto trader OSL, the companies said on Thursday.

The firm, which has been granted Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approval, has gone live with spot trading of bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH), Zodia Markets CEO Usman Ahmad said.

“What most large financial institutions have done for now is entered crypto via the custody space, as has Standard Chartered with Zodia Custody,” said Ahmad in an interview. “We looked around and saw a gap in the market when it comes to a crypto trading firm with the backing of a bank.”

Major banks have been exploring crypto custody with a number of deals announced in recent months. The closest rival to Zodia Markets is probably Singapore’s DBS Bank which launched a digital assets trading arm back in early 2021.

Crypto trading is quite well served in the Far East and also the U.S. which also informed Zodia Markets geographical focus, Ahmad said.

“We want to focus on the U.K., Europe, Middle East and Africa as a starting point,” he said. “We looked across this time zone, and this jurisdiction feels, relatively speaking, underserved.”


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