French lender Societe Generale (GLE) has selected Swiss cryptocurrency custody firm Metaco to work with the bank’s digital asset subsidiary SG FORGE.
The SocGen Metaco partnership will, for now, focus on security tokens, an area of expertise for the bank which structured the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) 100 million euro ($103.8M) digital bond in 2021. SocGen’s security token focus comes amid the broader context of a forthcoming EU pilot regime exploring regulated security tokens, according to a press release.
Over the past couple of years, banks and large custodians have been steadily preparing for a world of digital assets. Switzerland’s Metaco is a common denominator for many institutions exploring crypto, most recently with Citigroup (C) (also focused on security tokens), and previously with the likes of BBVA (BBVA), Zodia Custody, DBS and UnionBank Philippines.
Metaco CEO Adrien Treccani recalls that at some point last year traditional banks started getting really serious about digital assets, around the time MicroStrategy (MSTR) began buying bitcoin (BTC) and Elon Musk tweeting about crypto.
“The series of banks that were already working on certain topics suddenly transformed from innovation pilots to concrete go-to market strategies,” Treccani said in an interview. “You will start seeing a series of announcements involving very big custodians. It’s almost FOMO [a fear of missing out] as these large banking players know that their future somehow depends on this capability.”
Speaking in general terms, Treccani said the French market is more about security tokenization than cryptocurrencies today. Germany, by contrast, is more focused on cryptocurrencies, while the Asian market is moving much faster into decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
“The American market is heavily regulated and it’s only the last 12 months that it has dramatically accelerated,” Treccani said. “But I would argue cryptocurrencies are very much within scope in general.”