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Nomura Bank to launch crypto custodian services: Komainu

Komainu works to oversee and safeguard digital assets for financial institutions

Nomura Holdings, along with crypto partners Ledger and Coinshares, recently launched Komainu. The joint venture, announced last Wednesday, is a custodian measure to safeguard digital assets for financial institutions.

Work on this project was first announced in 2018, and it is overseen by the Jersey Financial Services Commission. Jean Marie Mognetti, CoinShared co-founder and chief executive, will be leading the joint venture.

In an interview, Mognetti revealed that they have been trialling the platform with a limited number of clients for five months. They are now launching the platform to attract new clients.

The debut of Komainu is strategically positioned at a time when more established financial firms are considering if they should be offering custody and other services for cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and other digital assets.

Many large financial institutions, including that of Nomura, are hoping that traditional assets, such as bonds or stocks, can be digitised and issued using blockchain technology. If possible, this would allow them to cut costs and simplify the process.

For a long time, the scarcity of back-office services by major financial service providers has prevented wider adoption of digital assets.

The global chief digital officer for wholesale at Nomura, Jezri Mohideen, emphasised the company’s commitment to finding solutions for the issue.

“We have been very focused on the evolution of the digital asset ecosystem. For us it was critical that we solve the custody issue.”

The partners were assured that Komainu is capable of integrating with the tech systems of financial institutions, and will only accept clients and tokens that have passed stringent anti-money laundering (AML) and provenance checks.

The executive team at Komainu includes Kenton Farmer, operating as head of operations. Before this post, he worked at Hermes Fund Managers and Credit Suisse.

The former global head of cyber defence at Santander Bank, Andrew Morfill, will serve as a chief information security officer. Former regulator, Susan Patterson, will be serving as the head of regulatory affairs. Patterson has also previously worked for high-profile companies, such as Credit Suisse, Brevan Howard and UBS.

Nomura Holdings has been a financial service provider for over 95 years. In 2019, a controversy involving former bankers for Nomura brought the brand into the limelight and was regarded as one of Italy’s biggest financial scandals.

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