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Drew Forman, Head of Cowen Digital. (Photo courtesy of Cowen. Art by Mike Sullivan)

Cowen’s Crypto Launch Highlights Growing Role of Crypto Custodian Startups

Photo: Drew Forman, Head of Cowen Digital. (Photo courtesy of Cowen. Art by Mike Sullivan)

Every week, Wall Street warms up a little more to crypto. On Wednesday, New York investment bank Cowen Inc. launched a digital assets arm dubbed Cowen Digital to trade 16 different cryptocurrencies on behalf of its clients. It tapped its former head of derivatives sales and trading, Drew Forman, to run the group. And like a growing number of Wall Street institutions, it’s working with crypto startups to handle its new business.  

In Cowen’s case, that’s Standard Custody and Trust, which stores digital assets securely on cold storage, which are generally digital crypto wallets not connected to the internet and hence less susceptible to hacks. Standard Custody is a subsidiary of PolySign, a startup co-founded by a developer who goes by the name of Arthur Britto and David Schwartz, who were both involved in the early work of blockchain payments network Ripple (Schwartz is still CTO of Ripple). In May, Cowen made a $25 million investment in PolySign, leading the startup’s Series B in which it raised $53 million.

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