Netherlands-based banking multinational ING is developing technology for the custody of crypto assets, according to Reuters.
The news agency said in a report on Wednesday that sources "familiar with the matter" indicated the ultimate aim of the initiative is to provide secure crypto storage facilities for the bank's customers.
The tech, though still in the early stages, is apparently being built by a team based in Amsterdam.
Responding to Reuters in a statement, ING said it “sees increasing opportunities with regard to digital assets on both asset backed and native security tokens,” and is taking a particular focus on developing blockchain technology to open up the sector for clients.
ING is already involved in a number of blockchain initiatives, with its dedicated development team saying in April that it's working on privacy technology called "bulletproofs" to potentially conceal client data.
It's also working on blockchain-based trade finance as part of consortium startup R3's Marco Polo project and another in partnership with ABN Amro, also a Dutch bank. In January, ING inked a five-year licensing deal with R3 for use of its Corda Enterprise platform.
If ING now moves into custodianship of crypto assets, it will be one of very few traditional finance institutions to have done so.
Fidelity's digital assets arm launched custody services earlier this year, as did Bakkt, the bitcoin derivatives subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange. A plan by Japanese bank Nomura to offer institutional-grade custody for digital assets was delayed till 2020 in spring.
Otherwise, only a few smaller banks such as Julius Baer and Arab Bank's Swiss arm have moved to offer the service in a bid to attract clients.