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While two of the crypto industry’s biggest backers have fallen, crypto firms are not at a loss with a number of alternative and crypto-friendly support options available.
Over the last week, the collapse of three of the largest banks backing the crypto scene — Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), Silvergate Bank and Signature Bank — has many industry pundits wondering how United States-based crypto companies will fare after such losses.
While it has been said that there is “nobody left to bank crypto companies,” some in the crypto space have already highlighted the remaining options.
One Twitter user called out another after they said there is “basically no one left to bank crypto companies in the U.S.” by listing off some banks with crypto clients.
This is false. United Texas Bank, Western Alliance Bank, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of New York Mellon all have crypto businesses as customers, and there are probably more. https://t.co/Q27bkzq2n8
— yuga.eth (@yugacohler) March 13, 2023
Along with that rebuttal, various users began to compile lists of banks that still could be long-term options for smaller crypto operations. Although the situation surrounding banks, crypto and stablecoins is fragile, there remain mainstream options for those working in the space.
Bank of New York (BNY) Mellon
On Oct. 11, 2022, BNY Mellon announced the official launch of its digital custody platform for institutional clients to hold Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH).
BNY Mellon reports having $43 trillion in assets under custody, though it has not disclosed how much of that total includes BTC and ETH holdings. In March 2022, Circle chose BNY Mellon as one of its custodians for its USD Coin (USDC) reserves.
On Feb. 9, during a cryptocurrency panel at Afore Consulting’s 7th Annual FinTech and Regulation Conference, the bank’s head of advanced solutions, Michael Demissie, said digital assets are “here to stay.”
In light of the recent events involving SVB, Circle also announced it was working on “expanded relationships” with existing partners, including BNY Mellon.
JPMorgan launched its Onyx Digital Assets platform back in November 2020, which has since processed over $430 billion in transactions.
Recently, the firm began exploring “deposit tokens” as an alternative to privately issued stablecoins and central bank digital currencies on commercial bank blockchains.
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Deposit tokens, in theory, can exist on both public and permissioned blockchain environments for uses, including peer-to-peer payments, support smart contract programmability or serve as cash collateral.
JPMorgan has also piloted blockchain usage, including collateral settlement, repurchase agreement trades and cross-border transactions.
Cross River, a U.S.-based financial services firm, offers crypto solutions to fintech companies. It has served clients both inside and outside of the crypto space, including cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase and financial services giants Visa and Mastercard.
On March 13, days after the USDC depegging, Circle announced Cross River as its new commercial banking partner to produce and redeem USDC.
The British bank offers a custody solution for BTC and ETH wallets and has served the likes of Coinbase and Bitstamp since it was approved to provide digital services by the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority in late January 2020.
After the SVB fallout, Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie, CEO of BCB Group, tweeted that the group has no ties with SVB or Signature and no “material amount of its own” in USDC.
1/ .@BCBcrypto holds no material amount of its own funds in USDC, however BCB’s services relating to USDC include trading and custody through BCB Prime Services (Switzerland).
— Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie (@OliverBCB) March 11, 2023
The bank offers instant payments for business-to-business transactions and instant settlement for cryptocurrency trading firms, exchanges, liquidity providers, over-the-counter desks, market makers and institutional investors on its “TassatPay” platform.
TasatPay has processed over $1 trillion worth of transactions since it launched in 2019, including $150 billion alone in January, according to recent reports.
Shortly after the fall of the former cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Customers Bank announced that it had no ties with FTX and that its “CBIT related deposit balances” are stable at $1.85 billion. It claimed to have over $20 billion in assets.
The Singaporean bank offers its own custody platform, DBS Digital Custody, to customers who can purchase BTC, ETH, XRP (XRP), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Polkadot (DOT) and Cardano (ADA) from the DBS Digital Custody exchange.
DBS also offers a separate financial tool, which it calls the DBS Digital Exchange and is backed by the bank. DBS DDEx operates “members-only exchanges,” through which users have access to digital assets, including security tokens and cryptocurrencies.
Customers banking with OCBC cannot directly purchase crypto assets from the platform. However, OCBC bank accounts can be connected to a licensed trading platform that it is partnered with, such as eToro, to buy digital assets.
Mercury Bank boasts in its offering of banking services for Web3 startups, decentralized autonomous organizations and funds. However, it explicitly states it cannot work with “money service businesses” or exchanges.
While cryptocurrencies themselves cannot be held in a Mercury account, in its FAQs section, it says it does not “express restrictions” on buying crypto through a Mercury account.
The company has been active on Twitter since the string of U.S. banks went under, saying it is ready to onboard clients affected by the incident.
Our onboarding teams are working hard to make sure your applications are getting approved this weekend.
If you’re looking to submit an application, a priority signup link is below. https://t.co/NqOuuDgCt4
— Mercury (@mercury) March 11, 2023
Another crypto-friendly bank, Axos began offering its commercial banking clients access to TassatPay back in May 2022. TassatPay is a digital payments alternative on a private and permissioned blockchain-based platform that allows for around-the-clock real-time payment capabilities, approved by a primary bank regulator. It has processed over $400 billion in transactions to date.
Axos also offers access to multiple crypto-related exchange-traded funds (ETFs), including Bitwise 10 Crypto Index Fund (BITW), Bitwise Crypto Industry Innovation ETF (BITQ), ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) and the ProShares Short Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITI), among others.
According to a recent Reuters report, banks in Switzerland are seeing an influx of interest from American crypto companies after the recent events.
Crypto-focused SEBA Bank said it has experienced a “pronounced uptick” in traffic on its website by visitors from the United States.
Arab Bank, based in Switzerland, reported an increase in U.S. firms, mostly in the crypto space, looking to open accounts after Silveragte doubts mounted. According to the report, 80% had been Silvergate customers.
The Swiss bank Sygnum is also a crypto-friendly bank with self-made claims of being “the world’s first digital asset bank.” Although, it has a policy not to take on clients from the U.S. due to unclear regulations.
More banks serving crypto firms
While this list of options available to crypto firms is not exhaustive, it highlights that there could still be a light at the end of the tunnel.
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Other banks that could be of potential interest to the crypto industry include Jewel, Series, State Street Bank, Goldman, Capital Union, First Digital and others.
Jake Chervinsky, chief policy officer at the Blockchain Association, tweeted that with the fall of SVB, Silvergate and Signature, there is now a huge gap in the space for “crypto-friendly banking.”
The closures of Silvergate, SVB, and Signature create a huge gap in the market for crypto-friendly banking.
There are many banks that can seize this opportunity without taking on the same risks as these three.
The question is if banking regulators will try to stand in the way.
— Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky) March 12, 2023
He continued to say that, given that crypto firms will need new accounts, this is an “opportunity” for banks to seize but without the same risks as the three that failed.
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