Small Canadian bank, VersaBank decided to offer a “new-era deposit facility for consumers’ digital assets.” Billing itself as “Canada’s fintech engine,” VersaBank terms the offering a “blockchain-based digital safety deposit box” for bitcoin and other virtual currencies.
“We’re using what banks are all about – safety and security, only what we’re doing now is saying that physical box in the basement is getting obsolete,” said David Taylor, chief executive officer of this Canada’s smallest bank by assets. He added that most people’s really valuable assets are contained in some sort of digital format, and it can be a deed or a contract or a cryptocurrency.
VersaBank appointed cybersecurity expert Gurpreet Sahota from BlackBerry Ltd., the former smartphone maker long viewed as a world leader in security and encryption, to manage a group of developers working on the blockchain-based safe deposit facility and designing its “VersaVault.” It’ll securely store digital assets on computer servers around the world. Like a safety deposit box, the bank won’t know what’s inside and what is important, the bank can’t access the contents.
The bank said that they are aware that providing optimal level of protection will not be easy at all especially if we are all aware what happened last month in Japan. Just for a reminder, their national cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck reported to financial authorities its loss of 500 million NEM.
This is not the only facility offering such services. The last one offering was Dubai based Gold trader Regal RA DMC that offered their investors to store their cryptocurrencies in a vault located in the headquarters of the commodities free zone in the emirate.
In November last year, The Shinhan Bank of South Korea that they were also launching a Bitcoin vault facility. Before that, it was September 2017 when Toronto based Goldmoney Inc. added Bitcoin storage to its secure facilities available in seven countries around the world.
Other banks to provide specialized cryptocurrency asset handling include Switzerland’s Falcon Bank and Vontobel. Germany and Liechtenstein also feature, with Fidor Bank and Bank Frick respectively – all of them being pretty small banking institutions.
VersaBank has a market valuation of approximately $126 million, around 80 employees, and owns roughly $1.36 billion in assets.
Shares rose 24 percent so far in 2018, what was a great growth if compared to the S&P/TSX Commercial Banks Index that declined 2.9 percent.