TL;DR: Reuters is reporting one of the biggest banks in the world, ING, is working on technology to bring cryptocurrency custody products to its clients. Citing “people familiar with the matter,” it could be another anecdotal sign more so-called institutional money and its legacy finance businesses are ready to embrace financial technology’s future.
ING Developing Cryptocurrency Custody Product
Journalist Anna Irrera had the scoop, insisting ING “is working on developing technology to help clients safely store digital assets, according to people familiar with the matter.” For most financially well off clients and potential institutional investors, the issue of storing an asset, keeping it safe and accessible, along with various ways to mitigate risk, is among the last barriers in making their way toward cryptocurrencies.
Headlines roar daily about hacks, attack vectors, bugs, and related-crime just this year alone has topped $3.5 billion. Combine those with price volatility, and there are seemingly more reasons to stay very, very clear of crypto and its related tech. Mainstream, multinational, traditional financial institutions such as ING, based in Amsterdam, can by sheer heft alleviate some of that concern potentially.
“The custody project,” Irrera continues, “is still in its early days and is one of the bank’s several initiatives around blockchain, the technology underlying cryptocurrencies, the sources said. ING ‘sees increasing opportunities with regard to digital assets on both asset backed and native security tokens,’ the bank said in a written statement to Reuters. ING is particularly focused on developing the technology behind digital assets to give its clients a compliant way to access the emerging sector, it added.”
Sources are slim on details, evidently, but surely well-known digital assets such as bitcoin and ether are among those being considered by ING. The bank would not be the first, however, as Fidelity just last month was cleared by New York state for a custody license. Irrera was careful to note how such announcements, even as carefully teased leaks, can be little more than marketing hype. “A review by Reuters of more than 33 projects involving large companies announced over the past four years and interviews with more than a dozen executives involved with them showed many have not gone beyond the testing phase,” she stressed. The news comes as ING is desperate to settle a massive money laundering case in Italy, for example.
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