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Factors to Investigate Before Choosing an Ideal Custodian for Family Offices

February 29, 2024

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Choosing The Right Crypto Custodian For Your Family

The digital asset industry is more popular than ever, but it still has a lot of gas in the tank. Its current prevalence makes it accepted beyond the niche subsection of retail investors and cryptographic enthusiasts. Financial institutions are also dipping their feet into the digital asset waters, trying to capitalize on the ingenuity the assets bring to finance.

With the recent listing of Bitcoin ETFs by mammoth financial houses, the scope of investing in digital assets for institutional investors has opened up for the better. 

So, what’s changed the game for institutions? Previously, many were hesitant to jump into the digital asset world due to concerns about managing private keys securely, finding reliable custodians, and ensuring smooth transaction processing. 

Unlock the potential of digital assets for your institution

Digital Assets are catching the attention of all kinds of institutional houses

With the true potential of this asset class far from reached, many investors are flocking to get some, or lots, knowing how their values can be appreciated enormously in the times to come. Assets like Bitcoin constantly show how they can multiply investments severalfold when timed correctly.

Beyond that, digital assets have proved to be great stores of value over longer durations, helping beat the corrosive effects of inflation on fiat currency. Worried about the short-term volatility of these assets, most institutional houses prefer to hold on to them for extended periods.

Family Offices Find Themselves Growing Closer to Digital Assets. 

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And that has positioned family offices perfectly to jump into the digital asset landscape. Single- and multi-family offices working to preserve and grow the wealth of affluent, high-net-worth families have begun making digital assets a significant part of their overall investment portfolios, looking to tap into the burgeoning potential of blue-chip tokens and altcoins.  

Blockchain and Web3 implementations depict their ability to transform the tech and finance industries over the coming decades. Logically, family offices are turning to digital assets at the center of the transformation to set future generations up with this lucrative innovation. While these investment strategies look to become generational, family offices must make several considerations, including educating themselves about the asset class and implementing effective risk management strategies.

Choosing the ideal custodian is imperative for Family Offices

A stop-stop solution for Family Offices to maneuver their way into simplified digital asset investing and management is with digital asset custodians

Handling millions or billions of dollars in assets is no sweat for experienced custodians. They have an arsenal of solutions from wallet options like hot and cold wallets, Multi-Sig and MPC configurations compliance integrations, regulatory licenses, institutional-grade custody structures, succession planning tools, and more. But choosing the right one for your specific situation is crucial.

Family offices are best suited to choosing the services of third-party custodians for managing the digital assets in their portfolios. Self-storage solutions come with a steep learning curve and, more consequentially, the possibilities of irrecoverable asset loss if the private keys securing the assets are mishandled or lost. There is no recourse from that, possibly jeopardizing vast amounts of value.

So, relying on reputed custodians specializing in managing digital assets for clients interacting with massive volumes is the best bet for family offices. Their convenience and security make them the pragmatic option for anyone beyond the average retail digital asset investor who deals with less significant values.

What to Look for When Choosing a Custodian

While several custodians operate in the digital asset landscape, family offices must choose the right one for various reasons. Let’s examine what they must focus on and how it can make their interactions with the asset class seamless.

Secure Infrastructure

Dealing with digital assets revolves around secure infrastructure, especially when trusting third parties to manage them. After all, the amount of security breaches around private key handling leads to losses in the billions in the industry every year. Custodians possessing secure infrastructure and integrating best practices to store private keys and transfer data regarding user accounts are the ones to look for.

Identifying such custodians requires checking if they hold cybersecurity certifications, including SOC2 (Systems and Organizations Control 2) and CCSS (CryptoCurrency Security Certification) certificates, which they obtain upon intense scrutiny and audits by the issuing agencies. Simultaneously, custodians engaging in continuous bug bounties and penetration testing stay safe from emerging cybersecurity risks.

Insurance

One thing is sure in the digital asset realm – anyone can be a victim of exploits and hacks despite employing all kinds of cybersecurity protection. Cybercriminals can stay one step ahead of all preventive measures, waiting for the right time to attack. And that can lead to the theft of millions of dollars worth of assets from custodian platforms.

Insurance is the recourse for such inevitable situations, ensuring custodian clients regain lost value. It also helps clients access their value if custodians misuse the funds under management and indulge in corrupt, self-serving practices. Think of the FTX catastrophe that caused losses of user values amounting to multiple billions.

Moreover, insurance providers are very strict about the platforms they insure, doing thorough due diligence before taking custodians on board. So, insured platforms are more trustworthy than those that are not.

Regulation-Oriented

Opting for custodians that focus on regulations is a must. Several jurisdictions have rolled out their digital asset regulations, with many more in the process of doing the same. Those in regulated jurisdictions must possess licenses from regulators overseeing their national crypto ecosystems. Others in countries yet to release relevant frameworks are still answerable to financial regulators.

Ergo, choosing licensed custodians, or those following digital asset and other financial regulations in areas without specific regulations, can save family offices many headaches stemming from non-compliance. They often manifest as having the assets entrusted to the custodians frozen or seized by authorities.

Good Track Record

Family offices must stick to well-established custodians favored by institutions and enterprises in the digital asset landscape. Looking for those operating in the industry with extensive and familiar clientele for considerable periods offers the social assurance that family offices need.

Such custodians have earned their reputations by servicing their clients aptly and focusing on their specific needs, making them better options to manage crypto funds. However, that is not to say that family offices should not consider newer custodian solutions.

Looking for ones that follow all best practices, offer avant-garde features, and work towards building trust in the ecosystem can be highly beneficial. Liminal is a custodian making strides in the digital asset management vertical, providing feature-packed solutions with bank-grade security to family offices. It has also received licenses to operate in multiple jurisdictions thanks to its emphasis on a regulation-first approach.

Comprehensive Reach

The digital asset landscape is evolving rapidly, with new tokens that power highly innovative use cases emerging constantly. Simultaneously, several dApps, including DeFi protocols and DAOs, are scattered across various blockchains, proven to offer high-level yields and profit-generation measures.

Engaging with custodians supporting multichain capabilities and allowing family offices to interact with various digital assets and protocols from various chains is necessary. Moreover, they must offer convenient and intuitive workflows on their platforms for their clients to buy, trade, sell, and utilize digital assets and Web3 applications.

Sensible Pricing

A good custody solution does not equate to being expensive. Several custodians offer economical pricing tailored to the needs and usage of family offices rather than rigid, one-size-fits-all plans. Delegating the custodianship of digital assets to such solutions can keep the billables inexpensive while still providing access to a broad range of features and high-quality service.

Conclusion

Digital assets are bleeding into the portfolios of family offices thanks to their capacity to preserve value, build wealth, and complement traditional investment vehicles as an emerging, speculative asset class. While family offices are accepting it wholeheartedly and geared towards indulging in risky assets, top digital assets’ value retention and inflation-beating capabilities set the asset class up for increased adoption.

Of course, dealing with these assets at any point in time requires family offices to be equipped appropriately. It includes choosing the proper digital asset custodian. Partnering with the right one can make all the difference while treading this novel landscape, allowing family offices to hold and generate value from all facets safely.

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