BNY Mellon is committed to continue exploring the digital asset space, albeit cautiously.
CEO Robin Vince said on an earnings call today that digital assets are the bank's "longest-term play" and acknowledged the world's oldest continuously operating bank has to adapt to technology changes.
"We're investing for a future that probably will come to be, but it may not. But if it does come to be, we have to be there," he said. "We do think it's important for us to participate in the broader digital asset space."
The bank's chief compared ignoring the digital asset space to "being the custodian of 50 years ago and sticking with paper and not adopting a computer ... That's not going to be us."
BNY Mellon is one of several traditional institutional players entering the digital asset space. Fidelity opened retail crypto accounts in November, before filing metaverse trademark applications last month. BlackRock launched a private bitcoin trust last August as well as a crypto and blockchain-linked ETF in Europe.
BNY Mellon reported a 38% drop in profits during the fourth quarter to $509 million from $822 million a year earlier. The bank plans to cut 3% of staff or around 1,500 jobs, according to a WSJ report.
Last year, the bank received approval from New York's financial regulator to receive select customers' bitcoin and ether deposits. BNY Mellon is working with Fireblocks and Chainalysis as its two main partners on its custody push while also leveraging other firms including Blockdaemon.
The bank also offers two Digital Asset Platforms, the Digital Asset Fund Services and Digital Asset Custody.
The Digital Asset Fund Services provides services to about 19 crypto ETFs and mutual funds, including Grayscale's Bitcoin Trust (GBTC). Its Digital Asset Custody product was recently launched and is only available to select U.S.-domiciled institutional clients.
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