BitGo, Swan unveil plans for Bitcoin-only trust company

The United States may soon have a Bitcoin-only trust company, according to plans disclosed by BitGo and Swan Bitcoin on Sept. 15. The joint venture is pending regulatory approval, the companies said in a statement.

The forthcoming entity will handle similar activities of a trust company, including Bitcoin (BTC) custody, administration and management on behalf of its beneficiaries. According to Cory Klippsten, CEO of Swan, the solution intends to offer Bitcoin custody without the risks of having other altcoins under the same roof.

“For years, we’ve heard from major clients, partners, and other Bitcoin companies that they would prefer a Bitcoin-only software and services stack that is focused strictly on the best custody that leverages Bitcoin’s unique features,” Klippsten said.

The companies are in contact with state regulators about the plans but have not yet filed for regulatory approval, Klippsten told Cointelegraph. “We are evaluating acquisition options first,” he disclosed. 

BitGo offers digital asset security and custody, supporting over 700 cryptocurrencies, as per its website. In contrast, Swan’s business is fully dedicated to Bitcoin, allowing users to invest in Bitcoin via one-time and recurring purchases, with custody of records held at Fortress Trust and Bakkt, while BitGo acts as a cold storage custodian.

The new venture will target institutional investors, such as asset managers, pension plans and family offices, along with governments and company treasuries. It will offer cold storage, fraud prevention, Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer protocols, among other Bitcoin-related services.

Institutional investors in the crypto space are a fast-growing market in the U.S., especially as the world’s biggest asset managers seek regulatory approval for a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). Several large Wall Street players offer cryptocurrency custody solutions to institutional investors, including Bank of New York Mellon and Deutsche Bank.

“We believe there is a high likelihood that several ETFs are approved in 2024 and thus a new round of entrants to the Bitcoin market seeking mature, reputable, technologically proficient partners for a range of needs,” explained Swan’s CEO. The Securities and Exchange Commission has delayed decisions on the spot Bitcoin product. Analysts predict the regulator may postpone a decision until early 2024 as deadlines approach.

“Our teams have worked closely together for nearly a year on stronger qualified custody models. Early in 2023, we recognized the opportunity to establish a Bitcoin-only custodian, combining the unique capabilities of each company and supporting the innovators that will be at the forefront of pushing Bitcoin adoption,” noted Mike Belshe, CEO of BitGo.

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