Hong Kong-based Legacy Trust is creating a new business arm dedicated entirely to cryptocurrency custody.
According to a press release shared with Bitcoin Magazine, the asset management firm has decided to fork its business, resulting in the “new and independent” First Digital Trust. The press release stressed that First Digital Trust will remain “linked to Legacy Trust, but at arm’s length” to ensure that each can focus on their respective custody services. For First Digital Trust, which anticipates that it will see “$28 billion worth of assets in custody within the next 3 years,” the room to breathe will be necessary to scale.
“Keeping traditional and digital asset business lines together beyond 2019 has become less advantageous to each business, both strategically and competitively. The industry landscape is rapidly changing, and each company faces unique competitive opportunities and challenges. The pace of industry change and innovation in the digital asset space requires maximum flexibility to stay competitive and drive global leadership,” Vincent Chok, CEO of Legacy Trust and newly appointed director and CEO at First Digital Trust told Bitcoin Magazine.
“We feel this business is now mature enough to run as an independent business. We can move much faster as a standalone company, and that allows us to better adapt to the industry's needs,” Gunnar Järv, COO at First Digital Trust and head of digital assets at Legacy Trust, added.
Founded in 1992, Legacy Trust made its name as a pension and family trust provider, but it broke into the crypto custody game during the 2017 bull run. The trust company partnered with hardware wallet provider Ledger in April 2019 to provide a more robust custody option for their clients. It launched a digital asset pension plan that includes bitcoin in September 2019.
“We are very happy with Ledger's technology, and our partnership is going strong. Client facing side, arrangements are in place to provide our clients with a seamless experience,” Chok told us, saying that their custody framework makes them “well-positioned to work with exchanges, institutions, professional investors, market makers, investment firms, hedge funds, and various other professional industry participants”
Järv said that their clientele will likely not change after establishing the crypto-specific trust business, “though they[‘ve] seen much interest from the issuers of digital asset securities, who are looking to custody the underlying assets that back digital asset securities.”
“This is an area where our expertise in traditional asset classes has proven useful,” he continued.
In addition to the new business, Legacy Trust has gone fund hunting, hoping to bag $15 million from VC offices. This will be used to build out the trust’s technical capabilities, flesh out its legal framework and fund its expansion into other markets.
“The Digital Asset industry is fast paced. Investment is required in several areas to achieve scale while maintaining speed. A portion of funds will be allocated to better integrate with third-party platforms and develop proprietary technology. That is what will bring the most value to our clients,” Järv concluded.