BNP Paribas says “yes” to digital assets, but not to cryptocurrencies

It was apparently the rumor of the week: BNP Paribas was going to embark on the custody of cryptocurrencies. However, the banking group has just clarified things: it will offer digital asset custody services, but not cryptocurrencies as such. What difference does it make?

BNP launches digital asset custody

A press release from BNP Paribas clarified things this week regarding future asset custody services. The banking group has indeed signed partnerships with METACO and Fireblocks. The latter are considered benchmarks in the cryptocurrency sector, and have helped several large companies to integrate these new technologies.

Still, BNP Paribas’ launch into the broader blockchain asset custody sector is very cautious. As stated in the press release, the bank will offer to hold on behalf of its customers tokenized digital assets, but not cryptocurrencies as such :

The first step for BNP Paribas will be to use the Fireblocks solution in its ongoing experimentation related to settlement and the custody of regulated security tokens.»

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The bank is ruling out cryptocurrencies for now

This means that the bank wishes to embark on the custody of “traditional” securities which will have a tokenized version available on the blockchain. The keyword of this initiative is of course “regulated”. BNP Paribas wishes to start offering its services when it deems that the regulatory framework is robust enoughwhich is currently not the case.

A distinction that Wayne Hughes, head of digital assets for BNP Paribas Securities Services, underlines in the press release, while recalling that the bank will not stop there:

These partnerships represent a new step for us, allowing us to build a multi-asset, multi-vendor platform that […] will offer full connectivity between traditional and digital assets.»

We can therefore see this initiative as a first step for the bank. Although it marks its distances very clearly with cryptocurrencies, the use of industry leaders such as Fireblocks and METACO is not insignificant. We will therefore monitor the bank’s next initiatives in this area.

👉 On the same subject – BNP Paribas partners with EDF ENR to tokenize a bond to finance a sustainable energy project

published by editions Larousse

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Source: BNP Paribas, press release

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