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What does the involvement of legacy financial institutions mean for crypto?

  • Established financial players are starting to accept cryptocurrencies as a legitimate asset class.
  • Does such institutional involvement contradict the basic thesis of crypto?
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What does the involvement of legacy financial institutions mean for crypto?

Welcome back to Payments, our bi-weekly newsletter about all things payments — from blockchain to BNPL to B2B. It’s inspired by our payments coverage as well as the top stories from around the payments space. Subscribe here.

As crypto continues to boom, legacy financial institutions are taking note, with American brick-and-mortar banks increasingly looking to offer crypto custodial accounts. U.S. Bank, the fifth-largest retail bank in the country, is the latest to offer crypto custody services to fund managers. Other major banks including BNY Mellon, State Street and Northern Trust have similarly announced plans to custody digital assets.

The trend indicates that established players are starting to accept cryptocurrencies as a legitimate asset class. While this may be seen as an encouraging step towards widespread crypto adoption, it begs the question of whether such institutional involvement contradicts the basic thesis of cryptocurrencies – with banks acting as custodians, is crypto’s decentralization under threat?

Our top stories

First-ever bitcoin ETF BITO launches
For the first time, investors can invest in bitcoin via an ETF, without having to buy the cryptocurrency on a crypto exchange. The ETF is intended to give exposure to investors who don’t want to go through the hassle of buying bitcoin directly.

With traditional banks acting as custodians, is crypto’s decentralized nature under threat?
Over $200 billion worth of bitcoins have been lost so far. Do people need a better way to secure their digital assets? “Not your keys, not your coins,” say crypto traditionalists, arguing the space is meant to be free of banks, with a fundamental ‘one’s own bank’ philosophy.


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