Citi joins several other banks that have partnered with Swiss-based Metaco. That includes Standard Chartered and Northern Trust’s custody platform Zodia, BBVA, DBS Bank and the Philippines’ UnionBank.
“We are witnessing the increasing digitization of traditional investment assets along with new native digital assets,” said Okan Pekin, Global Head of Securities Services at Citi. “We are innovating and developing new capabilities to support digital asset classes that are becoming increasingly relevant to our clients.”
Citi is the world’s fourth largest custodian bank (after BNY Mellon, State Street, JP Morgan), with over US$27 trillion of assets under custody, administration and trust.
Compared to other digital asset custody firms, METACO has been very efficient in its use of capital, having raised a relatively modest sum of $20 million with the last funding round in July 2020. That contrasts with BNY Mellon’s custody technology partner Fireblocks which has raised more than $1 billion and State Street’s partner Copper, which has $85 million in backing.
Metaco Harmonize is an umbrella product including a custody solution that supports sub-custodians and self-custody providers, trading cryptocurrencies, digital assets and DeFi. Additionally, it provides the capability to issue and manage tokens.
Meanwhile, Citi is prolific in its approach to digital assets and blockchain. It has made several investments in cryptocurrency infrastructure, such as Blockdaemon, and Talos. It’s a backer and participant in trade finance platforms (Contour, LiquidX). And it’s very active in tokenized traditional assets, including money and bonds.
Citi’s Tony Mclaughlin came up with the concept of the Regulated Liability Network, a permissioned blockchain network that could span central banks, banks and other institutions to fight the “digital money format war”. SETL and Digital Asset are working on the technology side.