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With over $46 trillion in assets under custody, Bank of New York (BNY) Mellon is the largest holder of securities, commodities and cash in the world.
And as BNY Mellon has begun to offer those same custody services to crypto clients, it needs to track those assets. That’s where Chainalysis comes in. The firm, which traces blockchain transactions, announced today that the bank would be integrating its compliance software to help with risk management.
Chainalysis’ suite of tools includes Know Your Transaction, which sifts through data to determine if withdrawals or deposits are "high risk." If, for instance, crypto funds are flowing to an address that's on an international sanctions list, it can block the transaction. Or if the funds were ill-gotten through a hack or ransomware attack, the software can freeze a deposit.
Similarly, Chainalysis' Reactor software links addresses to real-life entities, converting gibberish into information that financial institutions can use.
For the tracking firm, collaborating with BNY Mellon was an easy call. “Chainalysis has always believed that financial institutions are critical to the overall growth and success of the cryptocurrency industry,” Chainalysis co-founder and CSO Jonathan Levin said in a statement.
BNY Mellon's first foray into crypto came just over a year ago, when it announced it would begin storing and transferring Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for asset-management clients—in the same way it already holds fiat currencies and equities.
In July of last year, Grayscale Investments selected the custodian bank to run the accounting and administration of its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, a product with a $4.5 billion market cap that allows traditional investors to get exposure to BTC's price without touching the actual cryptocurrency. Grayscale plans to turn the product into an exchange-traded fund that would expand its reach—allowing "shares" in Bitcoin to be traded like stocks and incorporated easily into investing portfolios. (The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has yet to approve a Bitcoin ETF.)
Though crypto enthusiasts have an uneasy relationship with some of the services Chainalysis provides, BNY Mellon's dedication to formalizing crypto custody measures could be a boon for the growing industry.