BitGo was one of the first crypto custody providers and ranks high on its fees, security, and asset support.Read our review
Cobo is a best pick for enterprises thanks to its in-house staking program and high APYs.Read our review
Gemini is our best pick for retail investors with smaller crypto portfolios.Read our review
A relative newcomer, Fireblocks still ranks highly thanks to its low fees, broad crypto support, and proven security.Read our review
What are bitcoin custody services? These are third-party services that safely store your cryptocurrency. (Think of them like a “bitcoin bank.”) They generally cater to people holding a large amount of crypto: institutional investors, hedge funds, and high-net-worth individuals. (Everyone else can use services like Coinbase, which custody crypto for the rest of us.)
In this guide, our editors reveal their picks for the top crypto custodial services, rated and reviewed for 2023.
What Are Crypto Custodians?
Crypto custodians are third-party providers that hold and safeguard digital assets on behalf of investors, institutions and other corporate entities. They look after your money for you so you can get back to making more of it.
Historically, only high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors used custodians–the only ones who needed to. But with the recent, unprecedented rise of retail investing, crypto custodians are open to everyone.
It’s hard to keep track of your private keys. So larger investors prefer to leave the security of their digital assets to custodial services, to better ensure that their funds can’t be accessed by hackers or other malicious actors.
By using a custodian, investors can avoid the technical side of storing crypto, while resting assured their digital assets are safe. Due to increasing demand from institutional investors, more bitcoin/crypto custodian service providers have emerged over the past few years.
Before we begin, remember that a “hot wallet” is stored online (like an online bank account), which makes it easier to access but more vulnerable to hackers, while a “cold wallet” is stored offline (like a bank vault), typically in a secure location. Most custodians use a combination of both hot and cold wallets.
Here are our picks for the best crypto custodians for your investment needs.
Best Bitcoin and Crypto Custody Providers
|Custody Providers||Year Founded||Number of Assets Supported||Fees||Insurance||BMJ Score|
|Fidelity Digital Assets||2018||2||1%||0||2.0|
Since its founding in 2013, BitGo has been a global leader in digital asset storage. BitGo manages more than 100 digital currencies and tokens as a certified custodian through custody policy regulations that are institutional-grade. In addition, the firm has cold storage systems and configurable multi-user accounts.
BitGo is probably the gold standard in cryptocurrency custody, being officially controlled by South Dakota’s banking division. The platform, mainly a cold-wallet custody provider, provides tested, reviewed, and isolated accounts for maximum protection. Third-party auditors audit the firm regularly to guarantee that the platform remains top-notch in levels of security and functionality. (BMJ Score: 4.5)
Gemini is an established digital asset exchange located in New York that offers professional clients a custodial crypto service. Originally known as Vo1t, the project was renamed Genesis Custody after being taken over by the Genesis Group to expand its digital asset servicing operations. Genesis Custody is one of the leading cold wallet crypto custodian service providers.
The program employs many military-grade levels of encryption while protecting the private keys of clients in a geographically dispersed manner. In doing so, they make use of several deactivated nuclear bunkers for high-level private protection.
Genesis is also a successful digital currency prime brokerage and a global pioneer in institutional digital asset markets. Genesis handles billions of dollars in digital currency swaps, borrowings, and exchanges regularly. It provides a low-cost custody solution for bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Zcash, Bitcoin Cash, and storage in a fully regulated setting. (BMJ Score: 4.0)
With its strict focus on cryptocurrency, Cobo is specifically designed for large institutions that buy and sell large amounts of crypto. Cobo provides crypto wallet services, like every platform on the list, but where Cobo stands out is its in-house staking platform where those coins can earn interest.
Founded by crypto enthusiasts Discus Fish and Changhao Jiang in 2017, Cobo pays surprisingly high rates of interest to encourage people to deposit more money.
Cobo sells software-as-a-service (SaaS) to businesses, enabling companies to set up their own wallet or DeFi platform. Additionally, Cobo supports 60 chains and more than 1,600 coins across 11 exchanges. (BMJ Score: 3.5)
Founded in 2018, Fireblocks is a high-security digital asset custody platform specifically designed for institutional and enterprise clients. It provides an all-in-one platform for storing, transferring and issuing digital assets securely, reliably and quickly.
Fireblocks provides multi-layered security features, including biometric verification, multi-party approval workflows and hot and cold wallet solutions.
Fireblocks supports a wide range of assets such as bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin and many others. It also offers insurance coverage of up to $30 million. (BMJ Score: 3.5)
Located in San Francisco, Coinbase debuted its custody service in 2012, capitalizing on its strength as the leading bitcoin exchange in the U.S. Coinbase uses its access to military-grade cold wallets to offer the highest level of protection for digital money.
Coinbase, as a leading bitcoin custody provider in the market, subjects its technology to frequent, standardized auditing operations. Additionally, Coinbase users have the opportunity to stake funds straight from their offline wallets to earn yield (like earning interest on a money market or savings account). Coinbase Custody, in collaboration with a registered broker-dealer, allows investors to secure their digital assets properly. (BMJ Score: 3.0)
Brandon Russell created Etana in 2014 in Denver, Colorado and today its services reach every corner of the globe. It is free to sign up in over 100 countries to use the platform for a broad range of custodial services.
Etana facilitates the custody of fiat and digital currencies – like bitcoin and the US dollar – and makes these assets available at any partner of Etana where the customer holds an account.
All assets are held in insured bank accounts with Etana and it integrates multiple SOC-compliant, sub-custodian wallet providers.
Users can also transfer funds between their Etana bank account and wallet instantly, oftentimes with no conversion fees. (BMJ Score: 3.0)
Kingdom Trust is among the leading independent, certified custodians of alternative assets. It provides innovative custodial options and escrow solutions to individual and institutional investors. The company offers global services for solo 401(k) holders and self-directed IRAs, single-member LLCs, investment advisers, broker-dealers, family offices, sponsors, consultancy companies, private equity funds, and other investment platforms.
Kingdom Trust has a longstanding reputation as a reliable financial custodian, handling everything from precious metals to pension money. Currently, the platform’s reach has expanded, bringing professional custodial services under its many operations.
Kingdom Trust uses its expertise as an institutional custodian to supply digital custodial services to hedge funds, banks, family offices, and RIAs that intend to participate in digital assets but do not want to store them personally. Furthermore, Kingdom Trust insures all the assets it holds to provide further protection to its clientele. (BMJ Score: 3.0)
Ledger Enterprise is a custody provider best known for its crypto hardware wallet. It is designed to provide businesses and institutional investors with a secure and reliable way to manage their assets, offering a combination of hardware and software components to provide the highest level of security.
Ledger Enterprise uses a multi-level security architecture that includes dedicated hardware devices, secure elements and multi-layer authentication. It also offers offline storage, backup and recovery, advanced access control and auditable logs to help ensure safety.
Additionally, Ledger provides a range of integrations with third-party service providers. This includes exchanges, market makers and DeFi platforms. This allows businesses to easily execute trades, manage liquidity and access other crypto-related services directly from the Ledger platform. (BMJ Score: 3.0)
Headquartered in Denver, Colorado Casa was founded by Jeremy Welch in 2016 and, in 2020, announced its laser focus on becoming a secure, self-custody for bitcoin.
Casa’s services include multi-signature wallets, key management and secure multi-storage in a geographically distributed network of vaults. As stated, its approach to security is based on the principle of “self-custody,” where the user maintains control of their private keys while Casa provides the infrastructure and tools to help them better manage their assets.
Casa also offers additional features such as inheritance planning and a dedicated support team to assist their clients. (BMJ Score: 2.5)
Fidelity Digital Assets is the newest service on this list offered by Fidelity Investments, a company with over 40 million customers. The company launched the platform in 2018, after four years of researching bitcoin and blockchain technology, during the digital cash revolution and in response to the demand from institutional investors.
The platform offers cold-vaulted storage, optimized custody, a multi-tiered approval structure and multi-site storage. Additionally, traders can trade seven days a week.
One downfall is that Fidelity Digital Assets currently only offers bitcoin and Ether custody and trading. This lack of support for a broader range of crypto, the relative late launch of Fidelity Digital Assets, and the lack of insurance on crypto products led to the low score. (BMJ Score: 2.0)
BitGo, Coinbase, and Gemini have the most established reputations in the crypto custody market, and rate at the top of our rankings. That said, despite its low ranking, Fidelity also has a sterling reputation within traditional finance. We did find that Gemini is likely the best choice for retail investors. But expect many more “bitcoin banks” to emerge in the coming years. (Also see our guide to the best bitcoin-friendly banks.)
As Wall Street wakes up to digital currencies as an investment asset class, this will also result in more bitcoin custodian solutions emerging.
Fund managers will continue to become more open to investing in bitcoin if they can store their investments with regulated custodians in the same way they can with stocks and bonds. Hence, the more this market segment grows, the more institutional investment you should expect for bitcoin and other digital currencies.
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