State Street launches digital asset pilot with Winklevoss-led Gemini Trust

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With its 227-year history, State Street is pushing ahead on its digital assets strategy.

This week, the bank launched a digital asset pilot to allow clients to consolidate the reporting of their digital assets serviced by Gemini, an independent digital asset custodian, with their traditional assets serviced by State Street. 

“[Clients] will have the custodian for traditional assets with State Street as they would have today, and then they would have Gemini as the custodian for their digital assets, and they would go to a single place to look at a consolidated report of all their holdings,” said Ralph Achkar, managing director of digital product development and innovation at State Street.

“It’s a first step, or a baby step for the organization into the digital assets world with Gemini and allows us to get to know this space.”

The pilot is the result of a partnership with Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange and custodian led by Tyler Winklevoss. It’s part of an ongoing research and development effort to combine crypto custody solution Gemini with State Street’s back-office reporting capabilities.

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The pilot will last three months to allow the bank to evaluate client interest. The bank has been studying use cases for digital assets for two years, explained Achkar.

“Our view is that some part of these digital assets are going to impact the market, our clients and our business — exactly in what shape or form is what we’re trying to understand right now,” he said.  “It started with the alternative segment, investing directly in cryptocurrencies, and now, there’s an evolution from that into some of the more traditional clients.”

State Street’s digital assets strategy focuses on three areas, including implications on cash, implications on the instruments themselves, and the impact on service providers, he added.

For Gemini, the tie-up with State Street represents a major step which positions digital assets as a mainstream asset class.

“Traditional investors will more seamlessly be able to allocate capital in their portfolio to digital assets through trusted and regulated financial institutions — helping us build a better bridge the future of money,” said Winklevoss, in a statement.

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