French banking major Société Générale is looking to acquire a cryptocurrency custodian or at least take a strategic stake in one, according to three people familiar with the bank’s plans.
The bank, often nicknamed “SocGen,” has also sent out a request for proposal (RFP) in search of firms that could provide safe-keeping of cryptographic keys and provide trading functionality on the bank’s behalf, the sources confirmed.
SocGen may be playing catchup with the likes of BNY Mellon, BBVA and Standard Chartered as banks look to crypto custody as a gateway into the booming, $2.5 trillion sector.
According to one of the sources, SocGen is eyeing two Swiss firms in particular: Metaco and Taurus. (Notably, Metaco provided crypto custody technology to BBVA and GazpromBank’s Swiss outpost.)
Meanwhile, Taurus recently joined forces with Credit Suisse to create Ethereum-based shares in a Swiss resort.
SocGen, Metaco and Taurus all declined to comment.
Interest has picked up on the M&A side of things regarding digital asset custody, thanks in part to PayPal’s acquisition of multi-party computation (MPC) shop Curv, first reported by CoinDesk in March. The upshot of the acquisition was that Curv’s existing clients were given until the end of this year to find another provider.
“When PayPal acquired Curv, the impact of that was that they not only acquired the firm but they took it off the market,” a key player in the crypto custody space told CoinDesk. “All those customers have had to scramble and look for alternatives.”
Paris-headquartered SocGen, the sixth-largest bank in Europe, is no slouch when it comes to crypto.
Earlier this month the bank submitted a proposal on the governance forums of decentralized finance (DeFi) giant MakerDAO to accept on-chain bond tokens as collateral for a DAI stablecoin loan.