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Institutional interest in crypto continues to rise amid struggling prices

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(Kitco News) - Institutional interest in cryptocurrencies continues to rise at an unprecedented pace as some of the world's largest investing firms wade deeper into funding crypto projects. 

Nomura Holdings, one of Japan's largest investment banks, is the most recent firm to dive into crypto with the launch of a new venture capital unit that will specifically focus on digital assets. 

The new unit has been dubbed Laser Venture Capital and will concentrate on investing in projects within the decentralized finance (DeFi), centralized finance (CeFi), web3 and blockchain infrastructure sectors of the crypto market. 

Laser Venture Capital will be the first product launched from Nomura's new digital assets business, which has been dubbed Laser Digital. The bank plans two additional launches related to secondary trading and investor products. 

Nomura first revealed its plans to create Laser Digital in May, saying that the unit will provide institutional clients and investors with products and services linked to cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, DeFi, NFTs and other tokens. The bank's holding company for its crypto business, Laser Digital Holdings AG, is incorporated in Switzerland. 

Stablecoins remain a point of focus for officials in the U.S. and E.U.

Playing offense when others are on defense

In Hong Kong, billionaire Adrian Cheng's VC firm C Ventures reportedly plans to raise a new $200 million fund dedicated to investing in the crypto space. 

C Ventures is not new to the crypto scene and has investments in Animoca Brands, RTFKT Studios and Matrixport, among others. The firm's hedge fund strategy mainly focuses on crypto trading, according to Cheng, and it has turned down approaches from angel funds or firms at a seed stage because they have high valuations and limited upsides.

Aside from the new crypto fund, C Ventures is also dedicating $300 million towards investments in private equity and private credit strategies over the next 18 months. 

It appears as though C Ventures ascribes to Warren Buffet's advice to "Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful" by entering the market when prices are at their lowest levels in over a year. 

"When people are on defense, we're on the offense," Ben Cheng said. Such an environment historically "will yield the best result," he continued, adding that he sees a bounce back after another 6 to 9 months.

According to Cheng, the value of the firm's existing crypto investments increased by 40% in the first half of this year after doubling last year.

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