How does Bitcoin custody work?

How does Bitcoin custody work? 

How does Bitcoin custody work


What is Crypto Custody?

Crypto custody may be a term wont to describe the method of securing assets from stealing.

Custodians - third parties which will be employed to carry your cryptocurrencies for you - act as custodians of your cash, whether or not it's money, securities, gold bullion or virtual assets.

Custody of cryptocurrencies may be a very little completely different. Digital quality custodians don't technically store assets, as all knowledge and transactions square measure keep during a public ledger referred to as the blockchain. What they guard instead square measure users' non-public keys - the vital a part of a crypto case that permits access to the funds it holds.

Crypto custodians square measure essential to the widespread adoption of digital assets. To date, several institutional investors have stayed faraway from shopping for digital assets as a result of they lack security. establishments that manage giant amounts of cash, like hedge funds, pension funds, investment banks, and family offices, square measure needed by law to own a steward that keeps their clients' cash safe.

As additional institutional investors began to require AN interest in digital assets and corporations like MicroStrategy began putting giant amounts of cryptocurrencies on their balance sheets, demand for crypto custody services skyrocketed. A report by Blockdata shows that the number of digital assets in custody magnified septuple between Jan 2019 and Jan 2022, from $32 billion to $223 billion.

Read more: square measure you purchasing your initial cryptocurrency? ten stuff you ought to grasp. 

How will crypto custody work?

Simply put, crypto custody suggests that securing the non-public key that proves you're the owner of the funds in your crypto wallet، holders have the choice to become their own custodians. If you utilize gold bars as a comparison, you'll either keep them beneath your bed to stay them safe yourself, or pay an out of doors steward to lock them up during a vault guarded by security personnel.

With this in mind, there square measure main sorts of crypto storage you must remember of.


As mentioned earlier, this can be self-storage, wherever you in person hold the non-public key to your own case. this implies that you simply square measure the sole one WHO will prove possession of your funds and access your holdings. With power, however, comes nice responsibility. once you square measure your own steward, you've got complete management over your case, however you furthermore may bear all the risks. If you lose access to your physical device (cold wallet) or forget the non-public key, your cryptocurrency is presumably lost forever.

Third-party custody

If you are doing not wish to require on the responsibility of managing your own account or realize addressing the technology too discouraging, you'll communicate a third-party steward. These square measure registered, regulated money establishments that have obtained a state or national license for custody.

This type of crypto steward keeps customers' non-public keys to their wallets during a secure manner and ensures the security of their holdings. From the user's perspective, it's almost like having a bank account at a bank. If you wish to open AN account, you've got to endure client identity and anti-money wash verification. If you're storing cryptocurrencies with a third-party supplier, you'll be expected to travel through an equivalent variety of checks to confirm that your cryptocurrency wasn't nonheritable through dirty suggests that.

There square measure 3 differing kinds of third-party custodians for cryptocurrencies supported the money institutions:

  • Exchanges

All centralized cryptocurrency exchanges handle the custody of cryptocurrencies for his or her purchasers. Some crypto exchanges and platforms source their security necessities to a third-party steward that protects the assets beneath management. In any case, you must grasp that once you established AN account and custody assets with a centralized exchange, you are doing not have the non-public keys to your exchange case. This exposes you to potential losses if the exchange is hacked or disappears with the users' funds.

  • Digital quality managers

As cryptocurrencies have matured into AN quality category in their title, digital quality managers have emerged to act like banks for crypto holders. These establishments square measure regulated and accredited like banks to supply custody of cryptocurrencies. a number of the foremost outstanding domestic crypto custodians embrace Anchorage, NYDIG, and Paxos.

  • Custodian Banks

As of Gregorian calendar month 2020, any repository bank within the U.S. also can hold cryptocurrencies once the workplace of the accountant of the Currency (OCC) cleared the method for all across the nation accredited banks to supply crypto custody services. This opened the door for custody giants like BNY Mellon, Citibank and Fidelity to enter the crypto custody market.

Note that a number of the third-party custodians (Fidelity, BitGo, Bakkt) square measure solely on the market to institutional investors. Others need such a high minimum balance that almost all retail investors square measure excluded from accessing their services. Coinbase's dedicated crypto custody service, Coinbase Trust, as an example, needs a large minimum balance of $500,000 in digital assets to qualify for its custody system.

Do not worry if you are doing not have that a lot of cash invested with in cryptocurrencies. Some custody suppliers have created their services on the market to retail customers in addition. a couple of examples include:


      • Casa

      • Gemini

      • Nuri (formerly Bitwalla)

      How much does third-party crypto custody cost?

      As with any type of service, providers usually charge a range of fees for holding your money, just like regular banks do if you have a checking or savings account. There may also be fees for depositing and withdrawing cryptocurrencies. These charges usually fall into one of the following three categories.

      • Custodial Fee: Custodians charge a percentage each year based on the value of assets in custody. This percentage is usually less than 1%.

      • Setup fee: a flat fee for opening a custodial account. It is worth noting that some crypto custodians waive the fee and allow users to open an account for free.

      • Withdrawal fee: you may pay a fee every time you withdraw cryptocurrencies from your account. This could be a flat amount or a percentage of the value withdrawn.

      For example, Gemini, a U.S.-based company, charges an annual custody fee of 0.4%. The company waives the setup fee, so you do not have to pay anything to open an account, but each withdrawal from the account costs $125, which is deducted from the crypto value withdrawn.

      If you opt for self-custody, you will save on custody, setup and withdrawal fees, but do not expect it to be free. Users will need to take care of the wallet and purchase a storage product to keep the private key safe.

      Read more: Your first crypto wallet: how to use it and why you need one.

      Pros and cons of crypto storage

      When weighing which crypto storage solution you should choose, you should first consider your needs. The right option depends on what type of investor you are, how much money you have, and how familiar you are with the technology.



      • Your key, your coins: Only you have access to your account.

      • No counterparty risk.


      • If you lose your key, you no longer have access to your coins.

      • Your assets are not insured.

      • If you get hacked, you can say goodbye to your holdings forever.

      Custody by a third party


      • The custodian takes care of everything. 

      • Easier access for beginners.

      • Custodians have insurance on the assets they manage.

      • In some cases, you can receive interest on the cryptocurrencies you invest or borrow from the third-party custodian.


      • The custodian controls your coins. It can freeze your assets, block access to your wallet, or restrict withdrawals.

      • Third-party risk: a custodian can be hacked or go bankrupt.

      • Fees can add up.

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