A Digital Currency Group-backed startup has snatched a former BitGo executive to give back users 'full control over their digital assets'

Quick Take

  • Digital asset storage startup Curv recently hired former BitGo vice president of sales Josh Schwartz as its chief operating officer
  • The smaller firm is hoping Schwartz’s experience can help bolster its client base, although it is offering a wallet service that is said to be more secure than traditional cryptocurrency custody

A small startup that's looking to break into the crowded market of securing digital assets has brought on a former BitGo executive as its new chief operating officer, The Block has learned. 

Curv, a New York-based firm, recently poached former BitGo vice president of sales Josh Schwartz to promote its allegedly more secure digital asset storage solution. While the company is counting on Schwartz’s sales experience at one of the largest cryptocurrency custodians to boost its client base, it is actually offering a wallet product that aims to disrupt traditional custodians. 

According to Curv CEO Itay Malinger, traditional custodians, such as BitGo, Coinbase Custody, and Xapo, oversee users' private keys and therefore become a single point of failure susceptible to hacks. Curv's wallet solution, on the contrary, is able to grant customers full control over their digital assets in a mathematically secure way known as secure multiparty computation (MPC).

This method, regarded as the Holy Grail in cryptography by Genesis Trading CISO Uri Stav, allows multiple parties to compute a function together without disclosing their respective inputs. It ensures that the information each party owns is completely private and the responsibility to custody the assets is "distributed between the customers and Curv," said Malinger. 

Notably, Curv is not the only company that deploys MPC to secure digital assets. Fidelity-backed Fireblocks also uses MPC to securely transfer cryptocurrencies between wallets. The firm already counts OTC desks such as Galaxy Digital and Genesis Global Trading as its clients.

Curv, on the other hand, has also attracted banks and hedge funds to test their system, while also enlisting stock and crypto trading app eToro and Genesis Global Trading to trail its storage solution. The company's offering to securely store digital assets may compliment Fireblocks' service to securely transfer these assets, according to Stav. 

"In every transaction, there are people behind the scenes. If a custodian holding something in cold storage - there is an employee behind that transaction. That employee could have part of that cryptographic material. And maybe another employee. And maybe the client. They can all use the Curv platform to secure the assets," said Malinger. 

The Block first reported on Schwartz' departure from BitGo in June. At the time, sources told The Block that he was "the brains" behind BitGo's new settlement and clearing solution services. Schwartz joined the custodian over a year ago, before which he spent eight years at Bloomberg in sales and business development. 

The company has recently raised $6.5 million from Israeli venture firm Team8 and Digital Currency Group. 

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