Watch: Enterprise Custody Solutions & Crypto - Michael Shaulov, Fireblocks | Forkast.News (
The United States and Europe leaped ahead to develop legacy banking infrastructures that are still being used today, but Asia’s belated digitization could be the region’s advantage in the crypto era. Nowhere is this clearer than in the cooperation between institutions and regulators.

“When you look at the different core banking systems that they use [in Asia], there is actually the newer generation of platforms that are in some cases actually even cloud-based and so on, compared to some 30 or 40-year-old infrastructures like IBM infrastructure that you would see in the United States [and] Europe,” institutional custodian Fireblocks CEO Michael Shaulov told Forkast.News in a video interview.

Fireblocks provides digital assets custody services for close to 400 institutions around the world, from traditional staples like BNY Mellon to challenger banks such as Revolut. Last year, the custodian arrived at the Asian market, setting shop in Hong Kong and Singapore.

In Asia, cryptocurrency trading is becoming stringent for non-professional investors. Key markets such as Hong Kong are looking to ban retail access to crypto. In such jurisdictions, Shaulov said that cooperation between institutions and regulators may provide them an edge over their Western counterparts.

“In the United States, it’s not a secret that there is a large amount of regulators and it’s not always clear,” Shaulov said. “Bigger financial institutions have at least a handful of regulators they need to clear, and that makes things challenging.”

Just as Asia’s late digitization is giving the region an advantage, modern infrastructure in crypto firms is fringing a “first-mover advantage” against traditional competitors. With crypto companies offering interest-bearing products to launching credit cards, the new is now coming into the “old business.”

“When you look at Coinbase, Binance, and all those providers, they are fully cloud, continuous delivery, continuous integration, they are set up with modern infrastructure,” Shaulov said. “Whereas one would argue that you have a pretty decent amount of banks whose infrastructure is currently set up for the 90s.”

Being a leader in innovation does not always come with prizes for financial institutions and their custody providers. Sometimes, a first-mover disadvantage can be spotted. For example, Fireblocks is getting sued by one of its clients StakeHound in a Tel Aviv court for alleged negligence of part of the password responsible for 38,178 Ether staked in the Ethereum 2.0 smart contract.

“This is probably the sub-zero-one percent of the activity that is being done that is so far out from [what] most institutions, most people are actually engaged in,” Shaulov said. “When you do something that is so nonstandard, there needs to be a lot of procedures in place on how to operate with innovation. There are a lot of lessons learned here.”

Watch Shaulov’s full interview with Forkast.News Editor-in-Chief Angie Lau to learn more about the rare staking procedure in ETH 2 that locked Fireblocks and its client StakeHound out of over 38,000 Ether, how crypto firms are front running traditional banks and institutions, Asia’s competitive advantage in the next age of finance, and more.



00:00 Angie Lau intro to crypto custody & background to Fireblocks
01:55 Michael Shaulov (CEO, Fireblocks) interview begins


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