Bitcoin adoption among banks in the United States has been growing steadily. Now, the latest financial institution in the country poised to continue this trend is U.S. Bancorp, the parent of U.S. Bank, which appears set to expand its services to include cryptocurrency custody and administering one of the country’s first bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
A recent report from Biz News Post indicated that U.S. Bancorp, the fifth-largest bank in the country, will be introducing a cryptocurrency custody product along with an unnamed sub-custodian. This follows a 2020 clarification from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency that such services could be provided by national banks.
U.S. Bank would also serve as the administrator for a potential bitcoin ETF to be offered by NYDIG, pending the regulatory approval of that offering.
According to the report, the bank says its decision was motivated by the growing call of its customers for exposure to the crypto industry. The bank noted that “institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance companies ... see cryptocurrencies as an asset class in which they would like to invest.”
The chief strategy officer for the U.S. Bank Global Fund Services, Christine Waldron, said that there has been a change in the desire of institutional investors to gain exposure to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
“They’ve always seen it bubbling around the surface on the retail investor side,” she said per the report. “This really allowed for institutional investors to take a look at cryptocurrency as a viable asset class.”
This is yet another sign that legacy financial institutions feel the need to meet customer demand for bitcoin services. Recently, reports have surfaced that JPMorgan Chase & Co. will be offering a bitcoin fund, Morgan Stanley will be offering bitcoin exposure and Goldman Sachs will provide bitcoin investment vehicles.