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Japan’s SBI Holdings and Saudi Aramco Explore Joint Digital Asset Ventures

Andrew Throuvalas
Last updated: | 1 min read
Source: Adobe Stock

Japanese financial services firm SBI Holdings announced last Thursday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with oil giant Saudi Aramco for potential collaboration on digital asset investing.

According to the document, SBI’s agreement with the state-owned oil giant would entail “collaboration in the field of digital assets and co-investments leveraging both parties’ investment portfolios related to digital assets.”

SBI’s total assets are worth $165 billion as of 2023. Saudi Aramco is the world’s second-largest corporation by revenue, next to Walmart.

Both parties would agree to identify Japanese crypto startups and encourage their growth and entry into the Saudi Arabian market. They would also establish numerous factories across both countries for projects “related to investments in the semiconductor field.”

“The scope of the alliance may be expanded upon agreement between the Company and Aramco,” read the notice from SBI.

Back in October, SBI announced a separate collaboration with the Japanese government to invest ¥800 billion ($5.3 billion) to help Taiwan’s Powerchip
Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation builds a semiconductor factory in northeast Japan.

Though that particular factory will focus on automotive chips, semiconductors are critical to the Bitcoin mining industry, which uses high-powered purpose-built computers for securing the blockchain and earning new BTC.

SBI’s Focus On Crypto

Like other international financial giants, the firm is increasingly turning to crypto as both an investable asset class and next step in the evolution of financial technology.

Last month, SBI entered a joint venture with Standard Chartered to establish an investment firm based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to focus on “market infrastructure, risk management and compliance tools, DeFi, tokenization, consumer payments, and the metaverse.”

It also signed a separate MoU with stablecoin issuer Circle in late November to expand the use of USDC in the Japanese market. The company is currently pursuing registration as an electronic payment instruments service, awaiting approval by Japanese regulators.

SBI has been partnered with XRP issuer Ripple since 2018 and is the company’s largest outside shareholder.