Bank of New York Mellon to custody bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies

Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon), America's oldest bank, is set to custody bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies later this year.

The Wall Street Journal reported the news on Thursday, saying that the bank plans to eventually treat cryptocurrencies like any other asset.

"Digital assets are becoming part of the mainstream," said Roman Regelman, CEO of asset servicing and head of digital at BNY Mellon.

In a press statement, BNY Mellon said that its new Digital Assets unit "will accelerate the development of solutions and capabilities to help clients address growing and evolving needs related to the growth of digital assets, including cryptocurrencies."

"The cross-functional, cross-business team, which will be led by Mike Demissie, head of Advanced Solutions at BNY Mellon, is currently developing a client-facing prototype that is designed to be the industry's first multi-asset digital custody and administration platform for traditional and digital assets," the bank said.

BNY Mellon is the world's largest custodian, having more than $40 trillion worth of assets under administration. The bank's entry into the crypto custody space would further legitimize digital assets.

BNY Mellon already works with crypto startup Bakkt to provide digital asset safekeeping, or "geographically-distributed storage" for securing private keys.

Banking giants JPMorgan and Citi are also exploring crypto custody services, as The Block has previously reported. Last year, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency allowed national savings banks and federal savings associations to offer crypto custody services to their customers.

Fidelity was one of the first traditional financial institutions to enter the crypto custody space. The firm has been providing crypto services since 2018 via its unit Fidelity Digital Assets.