London Stock Exchange Group has announced it has invested in the startup responsible for the world’s first crypto bond, in the latest example of an institution from the world of mainstream finance embracing opportunities in the cryptocurrency sector.
The group, which runs the London Stock Exchange, led the $20 million funding round in Nivaura, a London-based startup which allows companies to issue debt on a blockchain platform, Reuters reported.
Nivaura was behind the world’s first cryptocurrency-denominated bond issue back in November 2017. Their platform allows for automatic settlement, either within existing clearance systems, or as tokens written to the blockchain.
Within traditional structures, issuing bonds is complex, with a number of regulatory requirements creating an expensive, time consuming process to list.
The so-called tokenization of debt and other securities is considered to be a major benefit of blockchain technology in the sector, cutting the costs of issuing instruments while speeding up the process.
According to Nivaura, their blockchain-powered platform allows companies to cut the time to issuing instruments by as much as 80%, representing significant efficiency gains.
This is of particularly interest to smaller companies, and is expected to provide a credible alternative to the commercial lending sector for those companies previously shut out from listing on mainstream exchanges.
The announcement comes at a time of increasing support for blockchain technology from the mainstream financial world, with a number of firms investing in companies around the space. London Stock Exchange Group has been increasingly involved in blockchain in recent months. In January, they announced a crypto exchanged based Hong Kong would be using its matching technology for trading digital assets.
Similarly, HSBC has been trialing blockchain technology in its FX trading function, reporting a reduction in settlement costs of as much as 25%.
Amongst others to have invested in Nivaura was Banco Santander, through their venture capital division Santander InnoVentures. Head of international development at London Stock Exchange Group, Nikhil Rathi, told the news outlet the technology would be used to leverage new opportunities for growth, as well as boosting the efficiency of issuing debt instruments.
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