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Sony Dives Deeper into Crypto with WhaleFin Transformation: S.BLOX Exchange Coming Soon

Last Updated July 1, 2024 9:11 AM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated July 1, 2024 9:11 AM

Key Takeaways

  • Sony entered the crypto exchange market with S.BLOX, aiming to leverage partnerships within the Sony Group.
  • The acquisition of Amber Group signaled a strategic move into the crypto space despite the FTX collapse.
  • The devaluation of the Japanese Yen is driving companies like Metaplanet to adopt BTC as part of their financial strategies.
Sony, the expansive Japanese conglomerate, is preparing to debut a cryptocurrency exchange  through its subsidiary, previously known as WhaleFin.
This development follows Sony’s acquisition of the local trading platform last year, as outlined in a recent press release on PR Times.

Sony’s Rebranded Crypto Exchange S.BLOX to Enhance Services, Launch New App

Now rebranded as S.BLOX Co., the subsidiary aims to partner with various Sony Group businesses to enhance the value of its cryptocurrency trading services, the release  detailed.

The overhaul also features a redesigned user interface and the introduction of a new, more user-friendly mobile app, according to the release. However, the specific launch date for the S.BLOX crypto exchange remains undisclosed.

The crypto trading platform was originally the Japanese exchange DeCurret, which the Japanese subsidiary of Singapore’s Amber Group acquired in 2022. As stated in a 2022 press release , Sony’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Quetta Web Co., took over the platform in August 2023.

In its ongoing efforts to penetrate the Web3 space, Sony Network Communications, a business division of the conglomerate, collaborated with Japanese blockchain company Startale Labs last year to develop Sony’s proprietary public blockchain network.

Sony Group explained to CCN that there was a business opportunity in the crypto asset market, which is expected to expand in the future.

According to Shinichi Tobe from Sony’s corporate communication:

“As Sony Group develops other Web3 services within the Sony Group, we believe that this will be an opportunity to accept customers from the Fiat (Web2) economic zone. In addition to improving the UIUX and expanding the functionality of the service, we aim to expand our business not only through collaboration within the Sony Group but also with partners outside of Sony.”

Amber Group said it will post its answer soon.

Acquisition of Amber Group After $300M Funding Round

In the aftermath of the FTX collapse, Amber Group revised its fundraising strategy and secured a $300 million Series C funding round in December 2022.

Led by Fenbushi Capital, this round saw significant participation from prominent investors including Temasek, Sequoia China, Pantera, Tiger Global, and Coinbase. Amber Group stated that the influx of capital would be utilized to safeguard its customers who suffered financial losses due to the FTX debacle.

Crypto reporter Colin Wu noted  that Sony’s acquisition of Amber marks a strategic move into the crypto exchange arena, capitalizing on its robust market presence. It remains to be seen if Sony can successfully revitalize the fortunes of the crypto exchange.

Sony Appoints Startale Labs Executive to Lead Crypto Exchange Amidst NFT and Blockchain Expansion

Sota Watanabe, the founder and CEO of Startale Labs, announced on X  on Monday that Startale’s external director will head Sony’s new crypto exchange. However, he did not disclose additional information regarding this appointment.

Sony’s latest initiative is part of its broader strategy to diversify its extensive portfolio, currently valued at over $100 billion. The company has been investigating the potential applications of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchain technology within the gaming industry for several years.

In March 2023, Sony took a significant step by filing a patent  for an “NFT Framework for Transferring and Using Digital Assets Between Games Platforms.” This framework proposes a system that facilitates the use of NFTs  across different gaming platforms. It includes innovative features such as gameplay locked to specific NFTs, tasks within games that are limited-use, and mechanisms to reward players with NFTs, enhancing the interactive gaming experience.

Japanese Companies Turn to Bitcoin Amid Yen Devaluation

Recently, Japan’s cryptocurrency environment has undergone rapid changes, primarily driven by the significant devaluation of the Japanese Yen and various monetary policies implemented by the Bank of Japan. Just last week, the Yen plunged  to new lows, prompting more investors to consider adopting a Bitcoin-centric investment strategy.

Echoing the approach of Microstrategy, Japanese companies such as Metaplanet are now incorporating Bitcoin into their financial strategies. Metaplanet recently announced through a bond sale that it plans to purchase $7 million worth of Bitcoin.

Additionally, Metaplanet is strengthening its foothold in the cryptocurrency market by setting up a new subsidiary in the British Virgin Islands. This expansion is part of a broader strategy aimed at enhancing its Bitcoin investment approach and increasing its reserves of the cryptocurrency, in line with its long-term financial objectives.

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