Self-custody isn’t for everyone: WisdomTree exec on ‘be your own bank’

As self-custody puts a lot of responsibility on a user, many may find it way too uncomfortable or too hard to handle.

While some experts believe that self-custody is one of the genuine purposes of crypto, this way of storing coins is not really suitable for everyone, according to a WisdomTree executive.

Will Peck, head of digital assets at New York-based asset manager WisdomTree, believes that self-custody will be a growing trend in the future, but custodial solutions should not be underrated.

Some crypto users prefer to self-custody, and WisdomTree supports and respects that decision, the exec said in an interview with Cointelegraph. “That will be a growing segment of the market, and over time we want to build products and services for them,” he stated.

As self-custody requires some technical skills and the responsibility to not lose one’s private keys, many may find self-custody way too uncomfortable or too hard to handle, Peck noted.

“Of the billions of people and numerous institutional investors on the planet, a large number will lack the technical wherewithal, workflows or interest in holding their own private keys, which introduces a different set of complexities and risks,” the WisdomTree’s executive said.

According to Peck, well-structured custody solutions, including products like crypto exchange-traded products (ETP) or regulated custody tools, can make crypto more accessible to a broader range of people. However, it requires vigilance and understanding of what users actually sign up for to avoid any risky activities with customers’ assets.

“If you’re concerned about “not your keys — not your coins,” you should just understand who this firm is, what the reputation is, how they are embracing regulation, or they are not embracing regulation,” Peck said. He added that self-custody has been trending in the community over the past few months as firms like the crypto lender Celcius were pausing withdrawals due to liquidity issues amid the massive crypto winter of 2022. 

“They were doing incredibly risky things with those deposits,” Peck noted.

Related: Self-custody is key during extreme market conditions: Here’s what experts say

The latest remarks by WisdomTree’s head of digital assets come amid the company debuting its proprietary custodial wallet solution, WisdomTree Prime. The platform aims to provide exposure to major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH), as well as tokenized versions of physical assets like the U.S. dollar and gold.

One of the largest crypto ETP providers, WisdomTree has launched eight crypto asset ETPs on Börse Xetra, SIX, the Swiss Stock Exchange and Euronext exchanges in Amsterdam and Paris. With the launch of WisdomTree Prime, the firm expects to expand its operations beyond ETP issuance. The wallet is currently live in beta and expected to be rolled out later in 2022.

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