Robin Vince, CEO of BNY Mellon Bank, the world’s oldest continuously operating bank, revealed on Friday earnings call that your organization is committed to continuing the exploration of digital assets, albeit with care. The chief executive identified cryptocurrency as the bank’s “longer-term play.”
BNY Mellon primarily interested in the “broader opportunity offered by digital assets
Robin Vince, the CEO of BNY Mellon, reiterated your view that digital assets should remain a key focus for your bank. Vince, however, also stated that the focus will not be so much on cryptocurrencies per se, but more on “the broader opportunity that exists in digital assets and distributed ledger technology.”
The Mellon CEO also expressed his belief that the calamities that have rocked the broader crypto industry throughout 2022, with perhaps the biggest being the recent FTX collapse—Just highlight “the need for trusted regulated providers in the digital asset space.” BNY Mellon officially enters the digital asset custody business with the launch of its dedicated platform last October.
On the call, Vince also stated that he does not believe cryptocurrencies will become a major source of revenue for the bank in the near future. According to the CEO, he expects digital assets to be negligible from a revenue standpoint for perhaps another five full years. While calling cryptocurrency the bank’s “longer-term game,” Vince acknowledged that ignoring digital assets “would be like being the custodian of 50 years ago and sticking with paper and not embracing a computer,” but also added that any investment made in the sector is made both carefully and deliberately.
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Major Institutions Increasingly Interested in Digital Assets
Despite the “crypto winter”, 2022 has shown that many major traditional financial institutions share Vince’s view that it is unwise to ignore digital assets and have begun to participate in the sector. Perhaps the two most notable institutions taking an interest in cryptocurrencies, primarily Bitcoin, are BlackRock and Fidelity.
Already in April 2021 it was reported that BlackRock has been quietly trading BTC futuresand in May, its CEO Larry Fink, previously a skeptic of digital assets, revealed to shareholders that BlackRock is in the process of studying cryptocurrencies. By August 2022, BlackRock reached a landmark agreement with Coinbase and began offering direct exposure to spot Bitcoin to institutional investors.
Fidelity, on the other hand, has a history with Bitcoin dating back to at least 2014. However, it also made progress regarding digital assets from the previous year. In September, Fidelity announced its plans to begins offering the cryptocurrency to its 34 million retail customers and has kept his Bitcoin offering in his 401(k) despite under pressure from a group of US senators on three separate occasions in 2022.
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About the Author
Tim Fries is the co-founder of The Tokenist. He has a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Tim served as a Senior Associate in RW Baird’s US Private Equity investment team and is also a co-founder of Protective Technologies Capital, an investment firm specializing in detection, protection and control solutions.