Asset servicer Northern Trust and Standard Chartered have sought to capitalise on the growing demand for cryptocurrency services by jointly developing a digital custody service aimed at institutional investors.
Northern Trust has partnered with SC Ventures, the innovation arm of Standard Chartered, to launch Zodia Custody which is expected to begin operations in London in 2021 subject to regulatory approval.
Initially it will provide custody services for the most commonly traded crypto currencies – bitcoin and ethereum, followed by XRP, litecoin and bitcoin cash – which collectively account for around 80% of the total assets traded on the major crypto exchanges.
While cryptocurrencies currently represent just 0.3% of the world’s currency and bank deposits, they are forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 32% over the next five years.
And while institutional investors’ interest in the digital asset class is increasing, they only account for 9% of cryptocurrency investment at present.
One of the impediments to wider involvement has been the absence of fully regulated service providers, including custodians as well as trading exchanges.
Just last month digital asset security vendor Curv announced a partnership with Germany’s Solaris Digital Assets to develop a crypto custody service which is also expected to launch next year.
Meanwhile, Nomura, one of the first banks to reveal its digital custody plans back in 2018, announced a partnership with digital asset investment house CoinShares and crypto security firm Ledger in June 2020 to launch Komainu, a crypto custody offering, regsitered in Jersey, that is also aimed at institutional investors.
Zodia Custody will be headed by SC Ventures’ Maxime De Guillebon.