How Anchorage is helping hedge funds custody hundreds of millions of dollars in NFTs

Episode 21 of Season 4 of The Scoop was recorded remotely with The Block’s Frank Chaparro and Diogo Monica, Co-Founder and President of Anchorage Digital.

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As Mónica explained during an interview on The Scoop with host Frank Chaparro, there are two main reasons he believes institutions are expressing interest in NFTs:

“The first one is that it’s free marketing. You buy an NFT or you do something in crypto and for a few hundred thousand dollars you get tens of millions of dollars of mainstream press. The second reason, which is probably the major reason for the ones who want to build products, is they want to try it out… if you’re going to build a product in NFTs, you have to own one.”

Indeed, institutional interest in developing NFT products is accelerating. This month alone, Softbank, Gamestop, and Instagram all announced NFT products slated for release in the near future.

Still, Mónica noted that NFTs only represent a small portion of the digital assets of which Anchorage holds custody. “I would say it probably maps in the hundreds of millions. But the business is obviously measured in the tens of billions which makes it not significant enough yet."

The core of Anchorage's business is its institutional custodian services, which have been growing since its inception in 2017. Last year, Anchorage became the first federally chartered digital asset bank in the US and has now expanded its operations to lending and trading services.

As the crypto space has evolved in recent years, so, too, have the appetites of Anchorage Digital’s clients. Although each institution has its own particular set of motivations for entering the space, Mónica mentioned that some companies are worried about aspects of their business being “potentially disrupted by some element of crypto.”

One particularly interesting NFT play that aligns with this narrative was Visa's acquisition of a CryptoPunk NFT last summer, which Anchorage Digital helped to facilitate.

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During this episode, Chaparro and Mónica also discuss:

  • Why self-custody is not viable for institutions
  • The maturation of NFT-based financial instruments and derivatives
  • The disruptive power of crypto settlements

This episode is brought to you by our sponsors FireblocksCoinbase Prime & Chainalysis
Fireblocks is an enterprise-grade platform delivering a secure infrastructure for moving, storing, and issuing digital assets. Fireblocks enables exchanges, lending desks, custodians, banks, trad