NAB Ventures Invests in Zodia Custody Boosting Digital Asset Security

National Australia Bank’s venture arm, NAB Ventures, has recently acquired a stake in Zodia Custody, a global digital asset custodian with substantial backing from financial giants like Standard Chartered, Northern Trust, and Japan’s SBI Holdings. This investment marks a significant pivot in NAB’s strategy, underscoring the increasing integration of digital asset solutions within traditional banking frameworks.

Zodia Custody, which established its Australian operations in late 2023, offers institution-grade cryptocurrency and digital asset safekeeping. The firm was initially launched by Standard Chartered in 2020 and has since attracted notable investments, including $36 million led by SBI Holdings, bringing total funds raised to $68 million. With the new undisclosed investment from NAB Ventures, Zodia is now backed by four major financial institutions, highlighting its growing credibility and robust security infrastructure.

Amanda Angelini, Managing Director of NAB Ventures, emphasized that the investment was driven by Zodia’s innovative approach, institution-grade safety, and strong regulatory compliance. “NAB Ventures’ investment in Zodia was based on a range of factors including their innovative approach, institution-grade safety and strong work with regulators. We look forward to seeing Zodia Custody drive further innovation in the digital assets space,” Angelini stated.

This investment follows NAB’s recent decision to discontinue its stablecoin project, AUDN, due to insufficient customer demand. The bank’s shift towards crypto custody highlights its commitment to supporting the burgeoning digital asset ecosystem, particularly as regulatory landscapes evolve.

Julian Sawyer, CEO of Zodia Custody, noted the impending regulatory changes in Australia, which are expected to include asset segregation and cold storage requirements similar to those in Hong Kong and Japan. “Incoming regulations will significantly change the landscape, similar to what we have seen in Hong Kong and Japan. This likely includes the segregation of assets, and requirements to hold them in cold storage — areas we are already way ahead of the curve on, having built our custody model on these principles while ensuring real-time access to move at the speed of the market and the highest levels of security,” Sawyer explained.

Zodia Custody’s immediate priorities include onboarding Australia’s unique ecosystem of home-grown digital asset exchanges and preparing for the anticipated wave of digital asset ETFs awaiting approval from the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). The recent approval of a Van Eck spot Bitcoin ETF by the ASX signals a growing acceptance and regulatory clarity for digital assets in Australia, paving the way for further institutional adoption.

Zodia Custody’s model is built on the principles of real-time access and high security, ensuring that institutions can move assets at market speed while adhering to stringent safety protocols. The firm has also been successful in securing high-profile clients globally, including Deutsche Bank’s DWS and Marathon Digital.

Kate Cooper, CEO of Zodia Custody Australia, expressed confidence in the firm’s ability to shape the future of digital assets in the region. “Zodia Custody is the next level up — for me, for institutions, and for the Australian digital asset ecosystem,” Cooper remarked. “The investment from NAB is another great endorsement of our mission and vision. But more than that, it signifies a turning point, with institutions and infrastructure providers jointly building the mainstream future of digital assets, without compromise.”

NAB Ventures’ investment in Zodia Custody not only signifies confidence in Zodia’s capabilities but also highlights a broader trend of traditional financial institutions embracing digital asset solutions. As Australia prepares for stricter regulatory requirements and the potential for digital asset ETFs, Zodia Custody is well-positioned to support this transition with its robust, institution-grade custodial services. This strategic move by NAB Ventures underscores the evolving landscape of digital assets and the critical role of secure, innovative custodianship in fostering mainstream adoption.