IBM is a major tech giant, and they have been continually interested in the application of blockchain technology for quite some time. Now, a New York investment firm named Shuttle Holdings will be launching a custody solution for digital assets in the beta version, which is entirely built on the private cloud and encryption tech of IBM. While there will be no way to actually store crypto assets, the tools available will allow other entities to offer this kind of support.
Brad Chun, the chief investment officer for Shuttle, stated that the most likely users that the company hopes to entice include banks, family offices, brokers, and other high net worth investors that prefer self-custody. Optimally, Chun hopes to involve exchanges as well. The service will first be offered in a limited capacity for “selected clients.” The public will not have access right away, and anyone that hopes to get in on the beta launch must join everyone else on the wait list.
This new solution was originally publicized at the Think 2019 conference in February, hosted in San Francisco. IBM’s CTO and director of cloud security Nataraj Nagaratnam said that the biggest use case for Big Blue’s cloud is the storage of cryptocurrency. Before introducing Chun, Nagaratnam questioned if there was any better example of crypto storage than using fintech that is already “changing the world.” He stated that the secure storage of digital assets is a priority for many people in this industry.
Though CoinDesk contacted IBM for comments, most of the questions were deferred to Chun. Still, it was the director of IBM’s “Z As a Service” cloud solution, Rohit Badlaney who spoke most highly of the upcoming Digital Asset Custody Service (DACS) and how IBM is involved. According to a spokeswoman, Bedlaney stated that the “on-premise pervasive encryption capabilities offered by IBM LinuxONE” was what separated IBM from other tech companies in their security.
With this transition, it looks like IBM is getting more involved in cryptocurrency, following the development of the private blockchain known as the Hyperledger Fabric. With the involvement of IBM with the Stellar foundation, it is clear that the tech company is journeying deeper into cryptocurrency than it was before.
Unlike the cold storage solutions, the new custody service from Shuttle and IBM holds the private keys in a device that is separate from the network. Chun says that the use of these arrangements has been historically used to reduce the chance of an attack, but it is technologically “a little oxymoronic.” While enterprises want the connection with customers and want to offer a secure setting to make assets readily available, this cold storage from Shuttle has created a system that could potentially be more secure.
The solution is built on a hardware security module that is entirely tamper-proof. Later, Chun noted that there is always some kind of compromise between security and efficiency, but this product is not like traditional cold storage options. The keys remain encrypted in multiple layers, storing backups with existing disaster recovery and backup processes. In doing so, the IBM Cloud solution is more prepared for a future in digital assets. Once a particular “critical layer” is available, then the custodian solution will be available for all businesses, even in real estate and identity sectors.