Standard Chartered’s Tokenization Push

SC Ventures, the fintech and venture capital arm of Standard Chartered Bank, has launched an institutional-grade tokenization platform, as the UK bank joins the race to tokenize traditional areas of finance. The nascent startup, named Libeara, provides the infrastructure to help financial institutions digitize financial instruments on a blockchain. It will theoretically reduce costs and the use of intermediaries as global banks fend off competition from fintech startups capitalizing on distributed ledger’s widening adoption.

Libeara—a portmanteau of Liberty and Aerarium, the first retail US Treasuries and the second the Roman Treasury—will partner with Singapore’s FundBridge Capital to issue the first tokenized Singapore dollar government bond fund for accredited investors, while Vistra will act as the fund administrator. More broadly, the platform will enable fund managers, governments and issuers to deploy financial assets on-chain or issue regulated security tokens, a process SC Ventures claims will democratize investment.

The new business, headed by Standard Chartered Bank veteran Aaron Gwak, was incubated as a stand-alone company in Singapore by SC Ventures, and was a finalist in the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s global retail CBDC challenge. It is also behind digital platform prototypes used by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the government of Ghana and the Union Bank of the Philippines.

The platform will be benchmarked against international standards. “To boost credibility and structural integrity, the Fund will be working with an international credit rating agency to have it rated—a first in the world,” Aaron Gwak, founder and CEO of Libeara, said in a statement. “The agency will be reviewing both the underlying asset quality of the components of the fund and the token structure as well.”

Libeara will draw upon the expertise of digital custody platform provider Fireblocks to create digital custody wallets for app-based users; Fazz via StraitsX, for conversion from stablecoins to fiat; Chainalysis for anti-money laundering controls; Chek for know-your-customer and know-your-business solutions; and Letsbloom for secure cloud deployments and compliance. SC Ventures also announced in November that it is partnering with SBI Holdings, a Japanese financial conglomerate, to establish a Digital Asset Joint Venture investment company in the United Arab Emirates with $100 million in capital.