State Street Unveils New Crypto Business In Wake Of New Global Regulations

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Jun 11, 2021 - 10:42 AM

With several global megabanks, including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, already announcing plans to launch their own cryptocurrency-focused trading desks or investment products, on Thursday, hours after reports about the Basel Committee's new proposal for how much capital banks must hold in reserve to offset the high risk associated with holding cryptocurrencies, CoinDesk reported that State Street has launched its own crypto division to be led by EVP Nadine Chakar.

According to CoinDesk, State Street said it's expanding its digital platform to include crypto, central bank digital currency, blockchain and tokenization (setting it up as one more potential asset) and will upgrade its existing GlobalLink platform into a multi-asset digital trading system. Chakar will report to Lou Maiuri, the bank’s chief operating officer, State Street said in a press release Thursday.

Back in April, CoinDesk reported that the Boston-based bank (which is one of the biggest bank's in the world thanks to its asset management arm and ETF businesses) was working on a new trading platform for crypto, spending billions of dollars licensing technology via a partnership between the bank’s Currenex trading technology provider and London-based Pure Digital, which develops infrastructure for foreign-exchange trading platforms.

"Digital assets are quickly becoming integrated into the existing framework of financial services, and it is critical we have the tools in place to provide our clients with solutions for both their traditional investment needs as well as their increased digital needs," State Street CEO Ron O’Hanley said in a statement included with the press release.

But before it even started with the platform, State Street was appointed as the fund administrator and transfer agent of the VanEck Bitcoin Trust, an exchange-traded fund whose launch is still pending on an SEC stamp of approval. Apparently, that's how State Street, which has its own custody business focusing on more traditional assets, first got a taste of the crypto business. Now it looks like State Street is playing "catch-up" in the crypto custody market. “When BNY Mellon entered the crypto custody space, that pretty much forced State Street to get involved,” the source said. In February, BNY Mellon announced it is starting a digital custody unit later this year.

An with the new Basel rules looking like a slam dunk for crypto, could the long-awaited 'institutional adoption' flood finally be picking up speed?