Northern Trust – a company in charge of over $10 trillion in investors assets – have started handling cryptocurrencies for their investors. While their hedge fund services don’t have direct custody over the cryptocurrencies themselves, they are focused on helping their customers account for their cryptocurrency investment.
In a Forbes interview, the president of Northern Trusts corporate and institutional services, Pete Cherecwich, said that Northern Trust has been helping three mainstream hedge funds that are diversifying their portfolio with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Northern Trust has been helping the hedge funds by comparing the numbers that the hedge funds report with the actual amount on record at the customer’s cryptocurrency custodian and by valuing and recording the investment.
In addition to adding cryptocurrencies, Northern Trust has also been working with implementing blockchain technology in their business. The company has previously been busy improving their private equity platform using the open source blockchain platform Hyperledger Fabric. The project, which launched as an alpha in February has since then been upgraded with new features.
The private equity blockchain which was previously only focused on settling transactions has now gotten more features, such as an ability for general and limited partners can exchange ownership of assets and having capital calls built into the blockchain. This will not only increase the speed at which transactions are received, but also reduce the need for a third party.
On top of that, Northern Trust has been working with accounting firm PwC to launch a blockchain platform for auditing. The platform is currently being used in Guernsey and is a solution for auditing firms to access fund data and events in real time, by giving them access to a blockchain node.
It seems that the asset management firm is slowly turning into a software company. Cherecwich states that it has presented the solutions to over 100 clients and are looking to sell them. It also already has two patents registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), where the first patent is for managing a digital identity and the second for managing a digital meeting.
But this is just the start of Northern Trusts future ambitions to implement cryptocurrencies in their company. Cherecwich says that while they are not looking to have direct custody over cryptocurrencies in the near future, he believes that governments will eventually start digitizing their own currencies, and the steps that Northern Trust is taking right now is just an effort to prepare for that day.
However, while Northern Trust is making great progress in implementing blockchain technology, it is still being slowed by regulatory uncertainty.
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Bought my first Bitcoin in 2013, but when Ethereum was released in 2015 I decided to make cryptocurrency my biggest focus in life since I realized what impact smart contracts will have on society. It has since then been my biggest passion in life and it usually takes up most of my waking hours. I like to program and have followed and interacted with what happens in blockchain pretty much constantly during this time, and spent countless hours researching this amazing technology. I believe this is why I have a good technical understanding of all the different blockchains and its concepts, which is something I try to do my best to spread while working at Toshi Times.