U.S Bank, the fifth-largest retail bank in the United States, announced that it is launching a cryptocurrency custody service that will be available to institutional investors. The move will help set the stage for wider adoption of cryptocurrency assets by institutional investors and fund managers.

According to a CNBC report, the U.S Bank has partnered with New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG) to provide custody services for Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Litecoin (LTC).

Gunjan Kedia, the vice-chair of the bank’s wealth management and investment services division stated that the offering will “help investment managers store private keys for bitcoin, bitcoin cash and litecoin with assistance from sub-custodian NYDIG.” She then added that support for other coins like Ethereum is expected over time.

What this means

The move by U.S Bank means that cryptocurrencies are getting more mainstream and it is attracting the attention of legacy traditional financial players. It also gives legitimacy to cryptocurrencies as real financial assets contrary to what many have said about them not holding real value. This is evident because according to CNBC, “In the realm of custody banks, which verify and safeguard trillions of dollars of traditional assets for money managers, major players including Bank of New York Mellon, State Street and Northern Trust have all announced plans to custody digital assets.”

Gunjan Kedia explained in an interview just how institutional investors are increasingly demanding crypto assets, stating that the bank’s clients are, “getting very serious about the potential of cryptocurrency as a diversified asset class.

“I don’t believe there’s a single asset manager that isn’t thinking about it right now,” she stated.

Bottomline

It is expected that institutional demand will continue to grow just as Kedia said. This is also more likely to happen especially now that Fed Chair Jerome Powell and SEC Chair Gary Gensler have both affirmed that they do not plan to ban cryptocurrencies in the U.S, setting the stage for more institutional adoption of cryptocurrency assets in the future.

Asides from this, there is evidence that Whales (big money investors) have already started acquiring Bitcoin. On-chain analytics data shared by William Clemente reveals that Bitcoin has been in net accumulation since late July. He explains stating, “comparing the behaviour of different market participants separated into cohorts based on the size of their holdings. Whales have been buying since late July. Shrimp, crabs, fish, & octopus have been stacking harder than ever. The only cohort that has been on a decline is the 100-1K cohort, which has just recently started increasing their holdings as well.”

He further explained, “So where are those coins coming from? And who has been doing the selling over the last few weeks? The first answer is that coins have been coming off exchanges. Exchanges are down 2,869 ($134M) this week, down 62,251 BTC ($3.2B) this month. At the same time, we’ve seen BTC continually locked up by entities with low spending behavioural, meaning they are statistically unlikely to sell the BTC they take in.”

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