Abrdn Buys Stake in Digital Exchange Archax

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Abrdn, which is one of the largest asset-management firms in the U.K., has taken a stake in Archax, the first and only digital securities exchange to be regulated in the U.K.

Abrdn, which is based in Edinburgh, Scotland, is now the exchange's largest external shareholder, Archax said Friday. In an email, abrdn declined to disclose the size of the stake or say how much it paid.

Asset managers in traditional finance are increasingly looking for ways to tap into the digital-asset industry. Friday's announcement comes after BlackRock (BLK), the world's largest asset manager, unveiled a spot bitcoin private trust for U.S. institutional investors. Last week, BlackRock announced a partnership with crypto exchange Coinbase Global (COIN) to offer digital assets to institutional investors.

Archax aims to provide access to blockchain-based digital assets for institutional investors, acting as a bridge to traditional finance. It received registration from the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in August 2020, becoming the first exchange to offer digitized securities – which are tokenized versions of real-world assets – to do so.

“Archax is one of the most promising U.K. players in this next expected high-growth area in finance – the use of digital and tokenized securities with same-day settlement. In that sense, the growth of the digital investment market is about much more than cryptocurrencies," abrdn CEO Stephen Bird said in the statement.

Abrdn, which manages 464 billion British pounds ($564 billion) in assets, said it expects investors to use Archax as a means to invest in digital securities and for Archax to be able "tokenize" traditional assets.

Abrdn's shares on the London Stock Exchange were recently up 0.17% at 173.15 pence.

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