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Thought Leadership.

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Digital assets custody:
An evolving landscape

Over the last few years, the digital asset market attracted a growing number of investors. The total market capitalization currently valued at $812B reached an all-time high of $3Tr in November 2021.

Yet, as with traditional assets and money, investing or owning digital assets necessarily involves the storage and protection of these assets, that is, custody. And what more, digital asset custody comes with a variety of choices, each with its own risk, advantages and implications.


The events that marked the digital assets space recently have emphasized the relevance and importance of this core function of the traditional financial infrastructure which has been around for ages.


Whether it be the collapse of Celsius or the scandals of FTX, the choice of custody method and of the type of custodian will impact what happens to the assets when the worst case scenario materializes.


It is one of the main question to be asked whenever contemplating investing in digital assets, be it Ethereum or Bitcoin, or tokenized assets like real estate tokens or gold tokens or NFTs.


This article presents the key different custody options currently available to different types of investors, while exploring the fundamentals of custody to be thought of moving forward.

Both retail and institutional investors need to protect
their digital assets in the same way they protect
their cash, their stocks and their bonds.

1. Custody in a nutshell

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At the core of digital asset custody is the concept of a wallet,
which is the place where the owner’s cryptographic keys are stored.
Depending on the type of security selected for the cryptocurrency funds, users can select custodial or non custodial wallets services.

2. Surge in institutional investors is creating new needs

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Figure 1: The volume of crypto transactions from institutional investors far exceeds that of retail clients

Key points of the report

After years of disbelief, Institutional investors are seeing digital assets afresh. Fueled by the lure of higher returns and the underlying value of innovation, they are investing now far more than retail customers.
Fulfilling their needs for the best customized solution has become
a strategic and sovereignty issue.

3. An evolving landscape

North America’s institutional grade custodians

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Figure 2: Sources: Coin Telegraph Research selection, BlockZero Analysis (2023)

While there are many institutional-grade custodians in the United States (the main ones presented in the figure above),
Canada has only four and just one who is regulated (Tetra).

Get in touch
with the authors

Our team is made up of dedicated, and experiences executives and consultants, representing the right mix between seasoned entrepreneurship and professional consulting skills.

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Marie-Chantal Leduc

Sabrina McNeil
Senior consultant

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Kasyap Anand
Senior Consultant

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