London Stock Exchange makes cryptocurrency play


The London Stock Exchange has invested in the start-up responsible for issuing the world’s first cryptocurrency bond, demonstrating a growing interest in crypto from traditional financial institutions.

The London Stock Exchange Group led a US$20m funding round into London-based Nivaura, a FinTech company focused on the development of digital investment banking platforms, to improve the fragmented and manual processes involved in the administration of instruments such as bonds, loans, equity, and structured products

In November 2017, Nivaura launched the world’s first regulated crypto-denominated bond on the Ethereum blockchain.

The start-up says it will use the funding to expand its team and accelerate growth.

“Our focus for 2019 is on conducting a series of high profile, large-scale projects with high calibre partners to demonstrate our platform as a valuable solution across the full spectrum of capital markets primary issuance activities,” said Nivaura CEO, Dr Avtar Sehra.

“We’re seeing growing appetite from major financial institutions for practical innovation that goes beyond buzzwords and conceptual PoCs in ‘digital investment banking’.

“Boards are saying: go forth and innovate. But doing so in the highly regulated and complex world of capital markets is immensely difficult.

“With our now proven approach and compliance credentials, we are able to finally help our industry take practical steps to innovate and improve their economics.”

Tradition banking veterans join crypto firm

Nivaura has wasted no time in securing expertise following the London Stock Exchange investment.

London Stock Exchange CEO, Nikhil Rathi will join the company in an undefined role.

Former HSBC Vice Chairman, Spencer Lake, has joined as a commercial advisor, board member and has also invested in the company.

Former HSBC Vice Chairman, Spencer Lake has joined Nivaura. (Image: Bloomberg)

Lake says he was attracted to Nivaura because the start-up is making banking digitisation simple.

“Digitising investment banking products and processes is seen by many as something on the horizon,” he said.

“Nivaura is helping firms to make it a reality today without the need for large scale change programmes and disruption to existing businesses.”

It’s also been confirmed Richard Cohen, a senior Debt Capital Markets lawyer, is moving from international legal giant, Allen & Overy to become Nivaura’s General Counsel and Head of Strategy.

London Stock Exchange investment follows similar Nasdaq move

The London Stock Exchange’s foray into cryptocurrency technology comes weeks after the Nasdaq Stock Market also led a US$20m funding round into Symbiont, a blockchain trading platform.

“We are committed to discovering and investing in innovative technologies to help build our future market infrastructure used by more than 100 marketplaces around the world,” said Head of Nasdaq Ventures, Gary Offner, at the time.

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