VersaBank Inc., a tiny Canadian lender led by a tech-savvy CEO with a penchant for planes and classic motorcycles, is building a virtual safety deposit box for cryptocurrencies and other digital assets.
The firm is taking the lead in a global banking industry that’s been reluctant to venture into most things crypto. The London, Ontario-based bank plans to have its digital vault ready by June and offer the service to global customers.
“We’re using what banks are all about — safety and security — only what we’re doing now is saying that physical box in the basement is getting obsolete,” David Taylor, chief executive officer of Canada’s smallest bank by assets, said in interview at Bloomberg’s Toronto office. “Most people’s really valuable assets are contained in some sort of digital format, whether it be a deed or a contract or a cryptocurrency.”
The move underscores a paradox of Canada’s financial system, which is dominated by six large lenders. While its banks are regularly regarded as among the world’s soundest, it’s also home to a boisterous junior stock market where new trends from blockchain to marijuana can quickly captivate investors…