Coinbase is our best pick for retail investors with smaller crypto portfolios.Read our review
As a leading provider of crypto wallet services and products, Ledger has the trust of millions of users.Read our review
A relative newcomer, Fireblocks still ranks highly thanks to its low fees, broad crypto support, and proven security.Read our review
BitGo was one of the first crypto custody providers and ranks high on its fees, security, and asset support.Read our review
One of the biggest challenges for crypto investors is where to keep their holdings safe.
You can hold it yourself, of course, but cold wallets bring their own set of challenges. It’s far easier to store your investments with a crypto custodian.
A custodian serves as a sort of bank, providing key features you’d expect, like wallet security and authorization controls, to protect against fraud or theft of crypto assets.
In our updated guide, our editors reveal their picks for the top crypto custodial services, rated and reviewed for 2024.
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.
By using a custodian, investors can avoid the technical side of storing crypto while rest assured that their digital assets are safe.
These custodians use a combination of hot and cold wallets to protect assets. 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.
Historically, only high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors used custodians. But with the unprecedented rise of crypto investing by the rest of us, crypto custodians are opening up to everyone.
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.
As a leading bitcoin custody provider, Coinbase subjects its technology to frequent, standardized auditing operations. Additionally, Coinbase users can stake funds straight from their offline wallets to earn yield (like earning interest on a money market or savings account).
In 2023, Coinbase also introduced Coinbase Prime for institutional customers, combining Custody and various other trading/investment services.
Coinbase is on top of our rankings thanks to low service fees and the highest insurance coverage of all featured custody providers. It is also a leading provider of cryptocurrency services with support for hundreds of tokens.
(BMJ Score: 4.0)
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.
As a leading provider of crypto wallet services and products, Ledger has the trust of millions of users. It ranks near the top of our list because it supports the maximum number of tokens, with low fees, and excellent insurance coverage.
(BMJ Score: 4.0)
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 many assets such as bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, and many others. It also offers insurance coverage of up to $30 million. At one point in 2022, it was rated as the world's highest digital asset infrastructure provider with a $8 billion valuation.
Our rating of Fireblocks as the third-best crypto custody provider is based on its excellent support for over 1,100 tokens, insurance coverage, and a long client list that includes leading entities like BNY Mellon, BNP Paribas, and AMRO.
(BMJ Score: 4.0)
Since its founding in 2013, BitGo has been a global leader in digital asset storage. BitGo manages more than 700 digital currencies and tokens as a certified custodian through institutional-grade custody policy regulations. In addition, the firm has cold storage systems and configurable multi-user accounts.
BitGo is among the safest cryptocurrency custody service providers, 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 security and functionality.
With a decade-long experience in the market, insurance coverage worth a quarter of a billion dollars, and support for 700 tokens, BitGo is a strong contender for the best custody service provider. The platform is only held back by a higher fee structure than some of its closest rivals.
(BMJ Score: 3.5)
Founded by crypto enthusiasts Discus Fish and Changhao Jiang in 2017, Cobo pays surprisingly high interest rates to encourage people to deposit more money.
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.
That strong portfolio of over 1,800 tokens and compatibility with multiple exchanges contribute to Cobo's high score in our rating system. Experience is another factor, along with the availability of flexible custody solutions.
(BMJ Score: 3.5)
Bakkt is a digital asset management platform offering products and services focused on the cryptocurrency and loyalty markets. The company was launched in 2018 as an American corporation and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The technology platform offers its customers a wide array of cryptocurrency services, including trading, on-ramp, and institutional-grade custody. Bakkt is a NYDFS Qualified Custodian with segregated wallet management and multi-layered security.
Token support was originally limited to just bitcoin and Ethereum. However, this was raised to 8 in 2023 with the addition of Litecoin, Dogecoin, and Shiba Inu, as part of a brand redesign and relaunch.
Bakkt's score in the BMJ rating scale is influenced largely by insurance coverage of $125 million, along with excellent compliance records, third-party auditing, and other multi-layered security features.
(BMJ Score: 3.5)
Gemini is an established digital asset exchange 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. It provides a low-cost custody solution for bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Zcash, Bitcoin Cash, and storage in a fully regulated setting.
The program employs many military-grade levels of encryption while protecting clients' private keys in a geographically dispersed manner. In doing so, they use several deactivated nuclear bunkers for high-level private protection.
Although it offers reasonably low fees, Gemini is held back by its limited number of supported tokens and lower insurance coverage compared to the top-ranked platforms. On the plus side, the $75 million insurance is still enough to push it above many other platforms on this list.
(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 for individual customers in over 100 countries who can 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 transfer funds between their Etana bank account and wallet instantly, often with no conversion fees.
Etana’s standout feature is its support for 400+ tokens and other digital assets. Insurance coverage, however, is limited to the $250k enforced by FDIC rules. Despite minimal coverage, Etana impresses with its 0.25% fee, which is why it gets a BMJ rating score of 3.0.
(BMJ Score: 3.0)
Anchorage Digital is a digital asset platform/infrastructure provider founded in 2017 by Diogo Monica and Nathan McCauley. The San Francisco, California-based startup received funding from VISA in 2019 in exchange for its cryptocurrency payment services.
In 2021, Anchorage Digital became the US's first federally chartered cryptocurrency bank. It offers custodian services to the US Justice Department for digital assets seized in criminal cases.
Apart from government agencies, the custodian services of the platform are available to banks, VCs, and fintechs. Anchorage Digital also provides other crypto services including lending, trading, and infrastructure.
The platform's healthy 3.0 rating on BMJ is mainly due to its excellent security features, which include biometric authentication for storage. However, token compatibility is rather low, with just 50 supported options. The absence of insurance coverage is also why Anchorage is in the middle of our ranking table.
(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. At the same time, 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. While it has enterprise solutions, the platform is geared more towards individuals and families, especially those with high net worth.
We have assigned a 2.5 rating for Casa due to various factors. It only supports two tokens – bitcoin and Ethereum. Combined with a lack of insurance coverage and less focus on institutional clientele, these factors place Casa in the bottom half of our rankings.
(BMJ Score: 2.5)
Fidelity Investments is a 77-year-old company with over 40 million customers and $4.3 trillion in assets under management. The company launched the Digital Assets 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.
Fidelity Digital Assets currently only offers bitcoin and Ether custody and trading. This lack of support for a broader range of crypto, the relatively late launch of Fidelity Digital Assets, and the lack of insurance on crypto products led to the relatively low score of 2.5.
(BMJ Score: 2.5)
Based out of Hong Kong, Hex Trust is a rapidly expanding digital asset custodian focusing heavily on the Asian market. Since its launch in 2018, Hex Trust has opened offices in Dubai, Singapore, Vietnam, and Italy.
The company has local licenses in these markets and caters primarily to banks and other financial institutions, blockchain foundations, and Web3 startups.
Their proprietary, bank-grade platform, Hex Safe, was developed in partnership with IBM and securely supports all major blockchains and supports NFTs as well.
Despite its excellent platform features, Hex Trust is the lowest-ranked service on our list due to its young age and lack of presence in major markets like the United States. The number of supported assets is also quite low at 11.
(BMJ Score: 2.5)
As Wall Street wakes up to digital currencies as an investment asset class, this will also result in more bitcoin custodian solutions emerging.
Through our assessment, we’ve found that Coinbase, Ledger, and Fireblocks have the most established reputations in the crypto custody market and rate at the top of our rankings.
Despite their ranking outside the top 3, BitGo and Gemini Custody also have a sterling reputation within traditional finance and crypto ecosystems.
We did find that Coinbase 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.)
The growth of secure crypto storage will only have a positive effect on an unfortunately security-challenged industry. Fund managers will continue to become more open to investing in bitcoin if they can store their investments with regulated custodians like 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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