The nation’s oldest bank said it would begin receiving clients’ cryptocurrencies on Tuesday, becoming the first large U.S. bank to safeguard digital assets alongside traditional investments on the same platform. BNY Mellon won the approval of New York’s financial regulator earlier this fall to begin receiving select customers’ bitcoin and ether starting this week. The bank will store the keys required to access and transfer those assets, and provide the same bookkeeping services on those digital currencies that it offers to fund managers for their portfolios of stocks, bonds, commodities and other assets. The move marks an important milestone for traditional banks and their growing acceptance of digital assets as a legitimate market and a source of new business. While many Wall Street executives still question crypto’s potential and aim to tread cautiously until Washington clarifies how the market will be regulated, firms have responded to calls from a growing number of large investment-firm clients to step into their traditional role as intermediaries.
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