BitGo

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BitGo
Bitgo color jpg.jpg
Founded 2013
Headquarters Palo Alto, CA
Key People Mike Belshe, CEO and Co-Founder; Cassandra Lentchner, COO; Chen Fang, Chief Product Officer; Pete Najarian, Chief Revenue Officer; Nick Carmi, Head of Financial Services and CEO of BitGo Prime; James Morgan, General Counsel; Jeff Horowitz, Chief Compliance Officer; Frieder Weichelt, Chief Risk Officer
Employees 100 - 250
Products Wallets, custody and security services
Twitter @BitGo
LinkedIn Profile
Facebook Page
Website BitGo Home
Releases Company News
Blog BitGo Official Blog

BitGo is a blockchain-based cryptocurrency custody company. Its services are aimed at institutional investors.[1]

History[edit]

On September 14, 2018 BitGo announced that its BitGo Trust Company had been approved to operate as a public trust company by the South Dakota Division of Banking, allowing it to provide regulated storage for cryptocurrencies. Mike Belshe, co-founder and CEO of BitGo, highlighted BitGo's exclusive focus on custody as the company's unique selling point when he said, "exchanges that double as custodians present a conflict of interest and raise regulatory concerns."[2]

In October 2018, BitGo reported that it had raised $84.5 million in investments after completing two rounds of investing.[3] The second round, Series B, closed after the company received its trust company registration. The round was led by Goldman Sachs and Mike Novogratz's Galaxy Digital.[4]

BitGo announced in late October 2018 that it would support DGX, a stablecoin backed by one gram of gold per digital coin.[5]

In January 2019, BitGo announced a partnership with Genesis Trading, a company that facilitates digital asset OTC trades for institutional traders, in order to offer cryptocurrency trading services off-exchange. According to Genesis Trading CEO Michael Moro, institutional and high net worth investor clients of BitGo will be able to trade cryptocurrency through Genesis Trading without having to go through an exchange like Coinbase. This allows them to execute trades without their digital assets ever leaving BitGo's custody.[6]

On February 10, 2020, BitGo announced an expansion of services in continental Europe with the establishment of subsidiaries in Germany and Switzerland. BitGo Deutschland GmbH already provided services in Germany and said it planned on obtaining a license there later in 2020. The Swiss subsidiary BitGo GmbH is supervised by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority.[7]

In January 2021, BitGo hired Jeff Horowitz, the former chief compliance officer of Coinbase, as its new CCO to replace Matthew Parrella, who left the company at the end of 2020.[8][9]

The company announced on March 4, 2021 that BitGo New York Trust LLC had received a license from the New York Department of Financial Services to custody cryptocurrencies for New York residents.[10]

In May 2021, BitGo announced that it had hired Cassandra Lentchner, former deputy superintendent for compliance of the New York Department of Financial Services' (NYDFS) BitLicense, as its new COO. Lentchner had also previously spent time at the law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP focusing on laws related to cybersecurity.[11]

Acquisitions[edit]

In February 2020, BitGo announced that it had acquired Harbor and its subsidiaries, which included a broker-dealer regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and a transfer agent supervised by the SEC. The acquisition allowed BitGo to become the first "full-stack" service provider for digital securities, meaning that it was capable of offering all services provided by the traditional financial services system, especially since BitGo itself was a licensed custodian through the South Dakota Division of Banking.[12][13]

BitGo acquired Lumina, a small cryptocurrency software firm offering portfolio and tax tools, according to an April 14, 2020 press release. The price was not disclosed. Founded in 2018, Lumina had raised $4 million by the time it was acquired. Lumina's main products were immediately rebranded BitGo Tax and BitGo Portfolio.[14] A few days later, the company confirmed to The Block Crypto that it had laid off 12% of its staff, although how many employees that represented was not stated, nor whether the affected staff were drawn from Lumina.[15]

BitGo acquired by Galaxy Digital[edit]

In May 2021, Galaxy Digital agreed to buy the BitGo for $1.2 billion in cash and stock. Galaxy Digital CEO and Founder Michael Novogratz said that this acquisition was done in order to attract both individual and institutional customers, like traditional banks. The deal is expected to close in Q4 of 2021.[16]

Products and Services[edit]

BitGo's main service is providing security for the digital asset holdings of institutional investors.[17] After its acquisition of software firm Lumina, BitGo launched BitGo Portfolio and BitGo Tax.

"Wrapped Bitcoin"[edit]

In January 2019, BitGo launched "Wrapped Bitcoin," an Ethereum-based digital asset-backed one-to-one by the market value of bitcoin, similar to how stablecoins are backed by fiat currency. Use cases for this product include serving as collateral for decentralized lending services, which may potentially create greater liquidity in services decentralized or "dex" exchanges.[18]

Staking[edit]

In July 2019, BitGo announced that it had begun supporting cryptocurrency staking as part of its custody services.[19]

Staking is a practice in which digital assets generate interest by connecting to a proof of stake blockchain network, such as Dash, and validate blocks in that network. BitGo announced that the company would begin offering "staking" as part of its custodial services, allowing its customers to profit off of interest from their digital assets while in BitGo's custody.[20]

Lending[edit]

In March 2020, BitGo announced that it would launch a new cryptocurrency lending business with a loan book of approximately $150 million. The company could not operate in New York, as it did not have a Bitlicense, though it applied for one in August 2021.[21][22]

Joint offering with KPMG and Coin Metrics[edit]

In February 2021, BitGo joined with KPMG and Coin Metrics to announce a suite of products and services targeted to institutions active in cryptocurrencies. The offering includes KPMG's Chain Fusion services and accelerators, Coin Metrics’ data and intelligence products and BitGo’s custody technology.[23]

Key People[edit]

  • Mike Belshe, CEO and Co-Founder
  • Cassandra Lentchner, COO
  • Chen Fang, Chief Product Officer
  • Pete Najarian, Chief Revenue Officer
  • Nick Carmi, Head of Financial Services and CEO of BitGo Prime
  • James Morgan, General Counsel
  • Jeff Horowitz, Chief Compliance Officer
  • Frieder Weichelt, Chief Risk Officer

References[edit]

  1. About: Making digital currencies usable for business in a regulated economy. BitGo.
  2. BitGo Receives Regulator Green Light to Provide Crypto Custody Services. Finance Magnates.
  3. Bitgo Oveview. Crunchbase.
  4. BitGo Draws Attention of Wall Street, Raises $15M from Goldman and Novogratz. Finance Magnates.
  5. BitGo Crypto Wallet Integrates Digix’s Gold-Backed Cryptocurrency. Finance Magnates.
  6. BitGo announces partnership that puts it up against the largest crypto exchanges. The Block.
  7. BitGo Expands Global Presence With Regulated Custody in Switzerland and Germany. Business Wire.
  8. Leadership. BitGo.
  9. Crypto Company BitGo Hires Coinbase’s Former Compliance Chief. WSJ.
  10. BitGo Receives NY Trust Charter from the New York State Department of Financial Services. Business Wire.
  11. BitGo onboards former NYDFS and BitLicense regulator as COO. The Block.
  12. BitGo Acquires Harbor in Surprise Expansion Beyond Crypto Custody. Coindesk.
  13. BitGo Acquires Digital Securities Platform Harbor. BitGo.
  14. BitGo Continues Expansion of Services, Launches Dashboard for Managing Digital Asset Portfolio Across Wallets and Exchanges. BitGo.
  15. Crypto custody firm BitGo has laid off 12% of its workforce. The Block Crypto.
  16. Galaxy Digital to Buy BitGo in Crypto Sector’s First $1 Billion Deal. WSJ.
  17. BitGo Custody. BitGo.
  18. BitGo launches “Wrapped Bitcoin” as it eyes new tokenization opportunities. The Block Crypto.
  19. BitGo moves into cryptocurrency staking market. Decrypt via Yahoo Finance.
  20. BitGo moves into cryptocurrency staking market. Decrypt via Yahoo Finance.
  21. As crypto credit bubble concerns loom, BitGo announces launch of a $150 million lending business. The Block.
  22. Crypto Company BitGo Hires Coinbase’s Former Compliance Chief. WSJ.
  23. KPMG, BitGo, Coin Metrics Launch New Offering to Drive Institutional Adoption. CoinDesk.
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