Dutch bank ING is developing technology to custody digital assets for their customers, according to a report.
Citing people familiar with the matter, Reuters states that the crypto custody project is in its infancy and is part of a larger effort to develop blockchain initiatives and give customers a compliant way to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency market.
“[ING] sees increasing opportunities with regard to digital assets on both asset backed and native security tokens.”
Big names like ING that are exploring crypto could signal the next wave of financial services companies, namely consumer banks, entering the space. The banking giant is the largest in the Netherlands with over $980 billion in total assets.
Visa-backed solarisBank, a German fintech firm, is also entering the cryptocurrency custody market, according to a company announcement.
The move follows a bill that will allow banks in the European Union to buy, hold and sell Bitcoin. The fourth EU Money Laundering Directive stipulates that banks can engage in Bitcoin custody starting in 2020, opening up a new business opportunity for well-established financial institutions and potentially simplifying the process of acquiring and holding crypto which has remained challenging for people who are not technically inclined, impacting the growth of the industry.
The bill, which was passed by the German Bundestag, is expected to go into effect on January 1, 2020, reports news outlet Handelsblatt.