On Monday, January 21, SBI Group announced that it has put $15 mln into a Swiss hardware wallet maker for crypto dubbed Tangem. The startup calls its storage vault an innovative banknote for virtual coins.
This wallet is meant to be utilized as a bank card and customers can use it for crypto transactions outside a coin’s major blockchain. The following is possible for paying in shops, for example. Coins can be put into the gadget by using a smartphone with enabled NFC.
Investment from a major Japanese financial company
When announcing its investment today, SBI stated that this money would enable Tangem to roll out its technology to other spheres of crypto, e.g. stablecoins, offerings of tokenized assets, ICO, digital identity and others. The company had the event confirmed in a separate press release. SBI has been working with cryptocurrencies for a while already, so it even has a special subsidiary for this dubbed SBI Crypto Investment. The latter works with investing into crypto startups and platforms.
As per SBI’s statement, it decided to invest in Tangem since the hardware wallets it offers are cheap and prospective. SBI believes that Tangem wallets may increase interest in virtual assets and the blockchain products of SBI itself.
Previous experience of SBI working with crypto
Back in 2018, SBI Group joined forces with Danish DLT company Sepior, which works in the sphere of crypto securities. Together, they started to make a crypto wallet for Sepior’s exchange, VCTRADE. Earlier still, SBI acquired 40 percent of shares in CoolBitX – a Taiwan-based hardware wallet producing firm.
Cold portable wallets are now becoming very popular for the security they give crypto assets offline. These gadgets are convenient and reliable due to the numerous hacker attacks on crypto exchanges in 2018.
Traditional financial giants and major banks are not afraid of crypto
SBI is a good example of a conventional financial giant investing into the crypto industry, wishing to earn on its innovations, too. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, senior BOE (Bank of England) advisor Huw van Steenis stated he believes that the BOE, as well as major banks in general, are not scared of crypto pushing them out of business. He claims that crypto assets fail the basic tests of financial tools, they have no actual value, and they are slow.
His major concern now is not crypto but fintech platforms competing with banks. Van Steenis says he admires their customer-driven attitude. He mentioned that banks are investing a lot of money at the moment to upgrade and improve their online payment systems in every possible way in order to retain their customers. So he wonders whether fintech platforms will be able to get enough clients before banks innovate their products for customers.