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Portfolio > Alternative Investments > Cryptocurrencies

BNY Mellon Debuts Crypto Custody Platform for Bitcoin and Ether

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Bank of New York Mellon Corp. launched a digital asset platform in the US that will allow some clients to hold and transfer Bitcoin and Ether.

The firm, with $43 trillion of assets under custody or administration at midyear, “has the scale to reimagine financial markets through blockchain technology and digital assets,” Chief Executive Officer Robin Vince said Tuesday in a statement.

The move comes even after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission published an accounting guideline in March that said public companies holding crypto assets on behalf of clients should treat them as liabilities on their balance sheets.

The guideline has made crypto custody more capital-intensive for banks, which are subject to capital rules.

The SEC guideline is “definitely something we see as restricting our ability to scale our offering fully,” said Caroline Butler, BNY Mellon’s CEO of custody services, in an interview. Still, the bank will follow the SEC guideline while continuing its discussions with the regulator on this topic, she added.

BNY Mellon, which formed its enterprise Digital Assets Unit in 2021, got approval from the New York Department of Financial Services before launching crypto custody.

It plans to expand its offerings, such as providing clients with access to crypto exchanges, pending market demand and regulatory guidance.

The bank sponsored a recent survey that found strong demand for infrastructure that can accommodate traditional and digital assets and that 41% of institutional investors hold cryptocurrencies in their portfolios.

The bank partnered with fintech startups Fireblocks and Chainalysis – which it has invested in – to develop the platform.

Shares of the bank fell 1.9% to $38.43 as of 3:21 p.m. Tuesday in New York, extending their decline this year to 32%.

(Image: Bloomberg)


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