Crypto custodian BitGo and bitcoin financial services firm Swan plan to form a BTC-only trust company as a means of offering custody without exposure to the rest of the digital asset market.
The joint venture, which is subject to regulatory approval, will combine BitGo’s custody capabilities with Swan’s expertise in onboarding and fraud prevention. It would be the U.S.’ first Bitcoin-only trust company, according to a press release on Thursday evening.
“We believe the best model for the Bitcoin industry is the same battle-tested model that has been part of the U.S. financial industry for over a century: the separation of exchange and custody,” BitGo CEO Mike Belshe said.
BitGo is one of the custodians Swan has used for its bitcoin storage needs, with another being Nevada-based chartered trust company Fortress Trust, which has agreed to be acquired by Ripple.
Addressing that deal, Swan CEO Cory Klippsten said Swan is already working to move compliance and settlement to another partner. “We’ve been integrating with Bakkt since early 2023 and we’ve already begun transferring some customer segments over.”
“It’s important to us to build a custodian without the risks of securing many altcoins within the same trust company as bitcoin,” Klippsten said.
Crypto custodian Prime Trust was put into receivership in July, shortly after BitGo canceled plans to acquire it. Prime Trust CEO Jor Law revealed in a court filing in August that the firm had lost $8 million in an investment in the terraUSD algorithmic stablecoin, which collapsed in May 2022.
After aborting its Prime Trust acquisition, BitGo raised $100 million in funding at a valuation of $1.75 billion.
Edited by Stephen Alpher.