Cryptocurrency Custody Giants Battle For Lions Share of Institutional Market
The acquisition of Xapo by Coinbase has effectively created the largest digital asset custodian in the world, with nearly $8 billion in assets managed. But this has only intensified the competition as custodial stalwart BitGo has announced they will be offering Xapo customers one year of free service with a dedicated account manager and up to $100 million in insurance. A report by Fortune, August 19, 2019, detailed the ongoing client battle between custodial services.
The Key to Institutional Adoption
For the last few years, the lack of variety and quality in institutional-grade custodians has been regarded as one of the biggest factors holding the industry back.
Owing to the complexities in storing and managing cryptographic assets, there is a need for hyper-specialized services that cater to the needs of institutions with millions in their piggy banks.
Some customers of Xapo were reportedly perplexed during the Coinbase acquisition, with many making calls to BitGo in search of an alternative.
Anyone who has been in cryptocurrency for long enough knows Coinbase has developed a reputation among retail investors for their pro-regulation stance. One would expect this to be a huge plus for institutional investors as they look to navigate their way through a regulatory grey area.
However, BitGo confirms they will be pursuing Xapo customers looking to make a switch by offering a year of free service. Many new players have entered the playing field since then, including Visa backed Anchorage and the high priests of crypto euphoria themselves – Bakkt.
Non-Custodial Asset Management
The SEC recently released a notification informing brokers who offer custody and pure custodians that they will be required to comply with the Customer Protection Rule in order to be seen as compliant and receive the benefits of being a regulated entity.
This may induce a lot of institutions to source in house teams to cover digital asset custody. Moreover, if these institutions by some miracle understand the doctrines of Bitcoin and decentralization, they may choose to abide by the “verify, don’t trust” motto that captures the essence of the entire movement.