“Very Significant Demand for Digital Assets,” says BNY Mellon Investing in Crypto Custody Startup, Fireblocks

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. is investing in cryptocurrency startup Fireblocks that builds tools for the transfer and storage of cryptocurrencies, reported the Wall Street Journal — yet another move by a traditional Wall Street player to embrace crypto assets.

This latest one came just after last month, the bank announced that it plans to serve as a custodian for crypto assets on behalf of institutional investors.

“There is very significant demand for digital assets in general,” said Roman Regelman, chief executive of BNY Mellon’s asset-servicing and digital businesses. “They’re becoming part of the mainstream.”

One of the world’s largest custody banks, BNY Mellon has $2 trillion in assets under management (AUM), as of 2020.

Earlier this month, PayPal also acquired Curv, a Fireblocks rival. Another major custody bank State Street Corp. is working on a digital asset custody service as well.

BNY Mellon’s strategic investment in Fireblocks is part of the New York-based startup’s larger funding round of $133 million from investors that include venture-capital firms Ribbit Capital and Stripes and hedge-fund firm Coatue Management.

“Eventually, the major cloud providers will either have to buy these infrastructure companies or build them in-house. Lacking the domain expertise alone of custody or scaling public chains will put them at a massive disadvantage longer term,” said trader Joe McCann, founder of NodeSource.

Amidst the ongoing bull market that has Bitcoin becoming a trillion-dollar crypto asset and the total cryptocurrency market cap surpassing $1.8 trillion, the companies in the industry are using this as an opportunity aggressively to raise funds, with Coinbase in the lead.

Founded in 2018, Fireblocks has raised $179 million, including the new round, to date. The Series C round gives the firm a valuation of over $900 million.

The startup moved over $100 billion in crypto assets last month, which was more than double the amount done three months earlier.

With over 200 clients, Fireblocks is working with some of the larger crypto-focused trading firms and several multinational banks as well.

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