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Japanese financial services firm SBI Holdings is preparing to establish a joint cryptocurrency venture fund, and expand its reach in the crypto market, Reuters reported on 15 February.

According to the publication, the financial conglomerate is already in talks with several foreign financial firms to launch a joint crypto venture. The CEO of SBI Holdings, Yoshitaka Kitao, revealed his firm is planning to expand its current presence in the crypto space, and turn its crypto business into a “pillar of profitability”. In order to achieve this goal, SBI is currently considering both large-scale mergers and acquisitions. Kitao said in a statement:

“To become number one in the world, our choice is buying a leading company or creating an alliance with major global companies. Our M&A strategy will not be something like taking minority stakes in many companies.”

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Kitao further revealed there were two deals under discussion for a joint venture business in the crypto space, but declined to disclose who the possible partners were. He did however say SBI’s plans were spurred by the entrance of crypto into the mainstream, and especially Tesla’s major investment in Bitcoin (BTC). He said:

“Institutional investors, mainly hedge funds, have recently started investing in cryptocurrencies…Not just institutional investors but also Elon Musk has.”

Last week, the founder and CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, announced his firm had bought around $1.5 billion worth of BTC, which caused the price of the digital currency to skyrocket. Musk also revealed that under Tesla’s new investment policy the company could start accepting BTC as a form of payment for its services, and that it may “acquire and hold digital assets from time to time or long term”.

Not long after, credit card giant Mastercard also announced that 2021 will be the year it starts supporting cryptocurrencies directly on its network. In its press release, the company said it will only integrate cryptocurrencies that could provide consumer protection, enable strict compliance protocols, follow local laws in the regions they’re used in, and offer price stability.

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