The Japanese tech incubator giant SoftBank has had an active May so far, making a series of low-key investments in a number of crypto, non-fungible token (NFT) and decentralized finance (DeFi) projects.In a recent report, the Japanese media outlet Coin Post charted SoftBank’s investment movements in the crypto sphere over the past few weeks – and it appears the company is ready to take a deeper plunge into the crypto sector.The firm’s CEO Masayoshi Son last year told the tale of his own personal woes with a past bitcoin (BTC) investment experiment he said he is not keen to repeat. And earlier this month, Son told SoftBank investors, Bloomberg reported, that he has no plans to make a Tesla-style bitcoin buy – even before the automaker’s latest statement on the matter.Furthermore, the tech investor had appeared to have taken a significant step back from crypto last year, when Yahoo Japan, which SoftBank owns a 48% stake in, sold its TaoTao trading platform to the ever-crypto-keen SBI Group.
But if SoftBank’s recent NFT and DeFi investment activity is anything to go by, it looks like Son and his firm are not done with crypto yet.
In the DeFi sphere, SoftBank’s Singaporean subsidiary made an undisclosed investment in the O3 protocol, per a Twitter announcement from O3 Labs, which added it was “looking forward to strengthening and developing the partnership.”
And on the NFT front, SoftBank has also taken part in angel investment rounds that have raised over UD 4.1m for the digital market platform Epik Prime. Other angel investors in the project included the likes of JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley – with Warner Music Group, Sony, Universal and China’s Tencent Games also stumping up investment.
Epik Prime confirmed the news on Twitter, claiming that it had “excellent partners, a highly professional team of experts and world-class advisors.”
And in South America, SoftBank last week took part in a series of investments worth USD 26m in the Brazilian crypto management firm Hashdex that was led by the venture capital heavyweight Valor Capital, along with Coinbase’s VC arm Coinbase Ventures and Brazilian market players. Bloomberg reported that the Brazilian company, which operates a crypto index fund, was planning to use the funds to expand outside the domestic market and triple the size of its staff.
Last month, SoftBank’s WeWork partnered with BitPay and Coinbase in a deal that will see it accept crypto payments from clients. And earlier this year, the firm’s telecommunications subsidiary joined the Japanese Security Token Association, in a further sign that it means business in the wider crypto sector.