Global banking giants are reportedly increasing their involvement in the emerging crypto and blockchain firms by way of early- and late-stage funding for projects and businesses in the industry.
According to research by Blockdata, a blockchain market intelligence outfit, 55 out of the top 100 banks by assets under management (AUM) have some form of exposure to the novel technology. This involvement reportedly cuts across direct and indirect investments in crypto and decentralized ledger technology firms by the banks themselves or via their subsidiaries.
Blockdata’s research places Barclays, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs among the most active backers of crypto and blockchain firms, with JPMorgan and BNP Paribas also identified as serial investors in the emerging space.
These investments are part of a larger trend of significant backing for blockchain startups, with funding figures already doubling the amount recorded in 2020, according to a KPMG report.
The research also shows crypto custody as a major focus point for banks delving into the crypto space. Indeed, almost a quarter of the top 100 banks by AUM are either developing crypto custody solutions or are backing startups that offer custodial services for digital assets.
Several banks in the United States, Asia and Europe are building crypto custody platforms as part of their preliminary foray into cryptocurrencies.
Blockdata attributed the growing crypto and blockchain involvement among banks to three main factors — skyrocketing profits of cryptocurrency startups, regulatory advancements, and the increasing demand among bank customers for exposure to digital assets.
Back in May, NYDIG president Yan Zhao stated that the massive revenues of crypto trading giants such as Coinbase were making banks reexamine their initial reticence toward cryptocurrency involvement.
This massive revenue potential is despite the significantly smaller teams working for these major crypto companies.
At $58.09 billion as of the time of writing, Coinbase sits on a valuation almost half that of Goldman Sachs, the 13th largest bank in the world, despite employing only about 4% of the latter’s workforce.