State Street: Institutional investors undeterred by crypto winter

Institutional investors are unfazed by the current crypto winter and have maintained their interest in blockchain and digital assets according to megabank State Street.

Speaking with Australian news outlet Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) on Sept. 11, Irfan Ahmad, the Asia Pacific digital lead for the bank’s crypto unit State Street Digital emphasized that despite extreme volatility through June and July, the firm’s institutional clients have continued to make moves in the sector.

“During the course of the June, July period where things were really hotting up in terms of activity, we saw institutional clients not necessarily double down, but they weren’t really deterred from placing strategic bets on the asset class itself.”

Three crypto exchange-traded funds (ETFs) from Cosmos Asset Management and 21Shares launched on the Cboe Australia exchange in May, while asset manager Monochrome has recently received approval to launch the country’s first Australian financial services licensed spot crypto ETF in August. 

State Street is the fund administrator for the Cosmos Purpose Bitcoin Access ETF in particular, and Ahmad told the SMH that more crypto product launches are coming to Australia in the “very near future” but did not outline any specific names.

“Certainly, our clients, they’ve been speaking to us more pragmatically about how they might be able to launch products, or what our capabilities may be in the future to help them support the launch of those products,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and Australian banking giants such as ANZ and NAB have been primarily focused on stablecoins and traditional asset tokenization rather than crypto investments specifically.

The Commonwealth bank had a short lived crypto trading service play that was indefinitely halted in May due to regulatory uncertainty.

Overseas, big-name American institutions such as BlackRock have been making serious crypto plays of late. Last month, the $10 trillion asset manager partnered with Coinbase to provide institutional clients direct exposure to crypto and launched a private spot Bitcoin (BTC) trust.

Global investment bank Citigroup in August also hired two key execs in Ryan Rugg and David Cunningham as part of the firm’s Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) unit which oversees its institutional crypto offerings.

Related: Australian Treasury consults public on Bitcoin foreign currency tax exclusion

Rugg signed on to be the global head of digital assets for TTS, while Cunningham was onboarded as the director and strategic partner development for digital assets at the firm.

More recently on Sept. 7, Swiss digital asset banking platform SEBA Bank launched an institutional Ether (ETH) staking service to meet the growing demand for the yield-bearing asset ahead of the Merge.

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