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Dutch bank ING sells digital asset tool Pyctor to GMEX

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ING Group, Dutch multinational banking and financial services corporation, has spun out its digital asset business Pyctor to multi-asset trading infrastructure firm GMEX.

GMEX has acquired ING’s institutional-grade digital asset custody solution Pyctor in a multi-million dollar deal, the companies said in a joint announcement on Monday.

The Pyctor offering compliments GMEX’s MultiHub service, an institutional cross-platform business launched last year with the mission to bridge the gap between centralized finance (CeFi) and decentralized finance (DeFi), GMEX CEO Hirander Misra told Cointelegraph.

Pyctor expands MultiHub with a number of digital asset-focused capabilities, including smart contract features, post-trade custodial and institutional network capabilities like fragmentation of private keys.

Pyctor is also designed to support regulatory compliance, including a major Anti-Money Laundering framework by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) referred to as the Travel Rule

“There is a market need for this type of offering built by a bank for banks, asset managers and corporate clients, which can now operate in a neutral environment for institutional participants,” Misra said. Institutions are increasingly seeking to expand their capabilities into digital assets trading and settlement in a way that is interoperable with existing CeFi systems and asset classes, the CEO added, stating:

“This calls for the need for hybrid finance, or HyFi, which delivers a hybrid digital market infrastructure solution with interoperability of multiple blockchains and API integration into traditional systems to ensure a cohesive approach.”

ING started Pyctor as a project incubated out of its innovation arm ING Labs in Amsterdam in 2018. Pyctor’s technology manages private keys by fragmenting and distributing them among blockchain nodes hosted by regulated institutions. 

ING completed Pyctor’s first proof of concept in 2019 and then formed a working group for sandbox trials, including participation from major global banks and firms like BNP Paribas, Citi, ABN AMRO, Societe Generale, Invesco, UBS, State Street, Forge and others.

Related: JPMorgan trials blockchain for collateral settlement in after-hours trading

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, ING has been working on proprietary cryptocurrency custody technology tools since at least 2019 alongside many other blockchain-related activities. In 2021, ING conducted a trial of a DeFi peer-to-peer lending protocol with the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets.