The recent CoinCheck NEM hack worth about $500 million USD, brought cryptocurrency security at exchanges back to the headlines. The recent experience by this Japanese cryptocurrency exchange as well as previous ones, have paved the way for more advanced security measures. A week after the theft, a small, relatively unknown Canadian Bank, VersaBank, announced its plan of launching digital vaults to secure customer funds.
VersaBank: An Online Banking Leader
Based out of Ontario, London, VersaBank Inc is a small Canadian lender. The bank is a branch-less institution, basing its services online only, which makes it a great candidate to participate in the cryptocurrency revolution – although it is ironic that a bank can find a niche in the P2P currency space. With cybersecurity expert, Gurpreet Sahota on board, VersaBank is creating digital vaults for safe deposit of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets. The bank aims to launch digital vaults by June. It aims to give customers world-wide the opportunity to open an account with digital asset vault access.
Leading Cybersecurity Expert Leads Vault Development Team
Versa Bank with Gurpreet Sahota who belongs to smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd is heading the team of software engineers designing the “VersaVault”. Unlike safety deposit boxes, all the files/activities in the vault are hidden. Therefore they are not available for anyone to access. Speaking about the vault’s security features security, Sahota said
“Our differentiator in this market is to be secure and super private. The bank wouldn’t have any backdoor to open up the vault, we’re just providing the facility that folks could put their digital keys in.”
During an interview at Bloomberg’s Toronto office, CEO, David Taylor added
“We are using what banks are all about—safety and security—only what we are doing now is saying that the physical box in the basement is getting obsolete. Most people’s real valuable assets are contained in some digital format, whether it be a deed or a contract or a cryptocurrency.”
Not the first Bank to launch service to digital assets
Besides providing the highest security measures in the market, VersaVault is attracting interest from large funds that would like to store their digital assets. However, Mr.Taylor claims that the vault service prices will be high. The middleman will always add to the price, but perhaps competition will keep those prices in check. VersaBank is not the first bank to offer a vault service for digital assets. Palo Alto-based Xapo Inc has been doing thisfor four years now. A Toronto based firm, Goldmoney Inc. offers clients to buy, sell and store precious metals in Vaults across seven countries, and commenced Bitcoin storage last September. Moreover, Shinhan Bank of South Korea is about to launch its own Bitcoin Vault by mid-2018.
When it comes to cryptocurrency storage, Mr.Taylor seems to be more familiar with the concept than many of VersaBank’s competitiors. After all, Taylor launched this branch-less bank way before internet banking was considered. He got a license to run it as early as 2002, just a few years after the .com bubble burst. This shows that VersaBank has the pedigree to see years beyond in its strategic planning. Taylor makes sure to point this out:
“We’re a digital bank that has a very little human interface and serves as a warehouse for assets and liabilities, and makes a good spread in the middle. That is banking in its essence.”