ING Bank Spins Off Its Crypto Custody Platform to GMEX Group

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Netherlands-based ING Bank has spun off Pyctor, its cryptocurrency custody and post-trade infrastructure platform, to GMEX Group, a trading infrastructure firm that specializes in digital assets.

GMEX CEO Hirander Misra was appointed chairman of Pyctor, which will continue to work with ING, according to a press release. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Pyctor was incubated in ING Neo’s Amsterdam innovation lab. It combines hardware-based security favored by banks with software-based "sharding" of keys used to move digital assets, a process that's known as "multi-party computation."

Misra said the move was comparable with JPMorgan Chase spinning off Quorum, a private blockchain that was split from the Ethereum blockchain, to ConsenSys, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based crypto firm.

For its part, GMEX formed a partnership with Amazon Web Services last December to help provide cloud-based trading.

“It made sense for ING to spin Pyctor out and then it becomes much more neutral,” Misra said in an interview. “We’ve got a strong go to market with the likes of AWS and others, and the bank can capitalize on that. These networks are all about wider adoption, so getting beyond a single player or a small set of players.”

Hervé Francois, the digital assets lead at ING Bank, who was also CEO of Pyctor for four years, told CoinDesk that he is leaving ING.