UK headquartered Copper.co, the digital asset custody technology provider, failed to secure a crypto-asset registration from the UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In March, State Street Digital, part of the world’s second largest conventional custodian, announced that Copper would be its technology partner for crypto custody.
Until June 29, the custody startup was on a list of FCA temporary registrants, but it was dropped on that day. The registration primarily relates to money laundering and terrorism financing compliance. As with many custodians, Copper additionally provides a crypto trading network that integrates with many exchanges.
Perhaps seeing what was coming, Copper announced in late May that it had been accepted as a member of the Swiss Financial Services Standard Association (VQF). It’s a self-regulatory organization required by the Swiss regulator FINMA to supervise its intermediary members for compliance with anti-money laundering.
According to internet archives, on June 24, Copper’s website stated that Copper was a tradename of UK-registered Copper Technologies (UK). But today, it says Copper Technologies (Switzerland).
We contacted Copper asking about a change in headquarters, whether it would impact its rumored substantial funding round or the effect on the State Street relationship.
“Copper maintains open and active dialogue with regulators across the jurisdictions where we are operating, including of course with the FCA. Since gaining our membership to VQF in May, we are pleased to be able to offer clients services from Switzerland,” said Carly Nuzbach-Lowery, Chief Legal Officer, Copper.co, via email. It clarified that the headquarters remain in London, but it has a business office in Zug, Switzerland.
We also reached out to State Street yesterday morning but haven’t received a response.
In terms of funding, last November, Bloomberg reported the company was in talks about a $500 million round at a $3 billion valuation, including with Tiger Global, SoftBank Group and Accel. There has been no further news on that since. In May 2021, the company raised a $50 million Series B led by Dawn Capital and Tiger Global, followed by a $25 million extension from Alan Howard, co-founder of Brevan Howard and crypto firm Elwood Technologies.
The company has some well-funded digital asset custody competitors, including Fireblocks, which has raised more than $1 billion, and KKR-backed Anchorage Digital, where funding has reached almost $500 million. However, Metaco has raised a comparatively modest sum of $20 million and managed to sign up Citi and Societe Generale FORGE in the last month.