Japanese Bank Sumitomo Mitsui Trust to Establish Digital Asset Custodian: Report

The bank’s pivot to digital assets comes alongside a global banking shift toward cryptocurrencies.
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Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui Trust will form a new company to offer digital asset custody services to institutional investors, according to a report by Nikkei Asia.

  • Named the Japan Digital Asset Trust, the company will target institutional investors perturbed by the risk of cryptocurrency theft.
  • The decision to create the the unit comes after an announcement earlier this month from Japanese rival Nomura that it is launching a subsidiary that will give institutional clients access to cryptocurrencies. It also represents a global shift towards the asset class, including banks such as BNP Paribas beginning to use JP Morgan’s blockchain-based network Onyx for fixed income trading.
  • The custody service will be a joint-venture between Bitbank, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Japan, which will own 85%, and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust, which will own 15%.
  • Japan Digital Asset Trust will have $2.3 million in initial capital with hopes to expand to $78 million through additional investment.