US banking giant Citigroup has partnered with Switzerland-based crypto infrastructure firm Metaco to pilot and develop a digital asset custody platform.
The news comes from Citigroup's securities services team, a spokesperson of the bank told The Block today. The bank will explore custody capabilities for tokenized securities such as blockchain-based stocks and bonds.
Citigroup, which has more than $27 trillion of assets under custody, has chosen Metaco to develop its digital asset custody platform rather than building on its own. The Citigroup spokesperson didn't respond to The Block's request for comment on the thinking behind this decision.
Citigroup is not the only traditional finance firm working with Metaco to offer digital asset services. Standard Chartered, BBVA, DBS Bank and the Union Bank of the Philippines have all partnered with Metaco in recent years.
Founded in 2015, Metaco is backed by high-profile investors, including Standard Chartered Bank's SC Ventures, Swiss bank Zurcher Kantonalbank, Swisscom and Swiss Post. The firm has raised $21 million in total funding to date.
Citi plans to integrate Metaco's infrastructure platform — called Harmonize — into its existing infrastructure to develop and pilot digital asset custody capabilities. Harmonize connects financial and non-financial institutions to the world of decentralized finance and offers tools for crypto custody, trading, staking and tokenization, according to Metaco's website.
"We are witnessing the increasing digitization of traditional investment assets along with new native digital assets," Okan Pekin, global head of securities services at Citi, said in a statement. "We are innovating and developing new capabilities to support digital asset classes that are becoming increasingly relevant to our clients."
Citigroup has shored up its presence in the crypto sector recently. The bank offers trading in bitcoin futures like its rival Goldman Sachs and recently also announced its plans to hire 100 people for its digital assets division for institutional clients.
Last month, Citigroup also participated in a $105 million Series B funding round for Talos, a crypto trading infrastructure firm that provides tooling for institutional investors across the various stages of trade execution.
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