Review of the Year: 2020

Review of the Year: 2020

January 7, 2021

As we start 2021, we took some time to reflect on 2020, which has been a transformational year for both Hex Trust and the digital assets industry as a whole. Here are some Hex Trust’s highlights from the last 12 months.


We announced a huge partnership in October with SIA, a European leader technology infrastructure for Financial Institutions and Central Banks. The deal enables SIA to distribute and integrate our Hex Safe digital asset custody platform with European financial institutions enabling their hundreds of banking and financial institutional clients to access the digital asset ecosystem.

SIA has clients in over 50 countries and serves over 1,700 institutional clients around the world. SIA has also built their own private network infrastructure called SIAchain which connects and runs nodes in 570+ banks and corporates in Europe. SIA processes over 14 billion digital payments and over 16 billion institutional services transactions each year.

“The collaboration with Hex Trust further strengthens our expertise and primary role in designing and delivering innovative infrastructures for the European financial community. We aim to create an ecosystem where banks can manage their digital assets based on state-of-the-art technologies and comply with their internal procedures and regulatory requirements”
Daniele Savarè, Innovation & Business Solutions Director of SIA.

CoinDesk: Eyeing EU Banks, Hex Trust Teams with SIA on Crypto Custody


During April, we announced our partnership with R3 and as the first Asia-based custodian to integrate Corda into our custody platform.

“As digital assets come increasingly to the fore, we are proud to see our blockchain technology touch all stages of the custody process. Corda’s unique scalability and security attributes make it ideally suited to heavily regulated environments and we wanted a custodian that operated with those same features. We have found that in Hex Trust and its commitment to the end-to-end safekeeping of digital assets. It is an exciting time in the digital assets space, and we look forward to helping shape progress in the space, alongside partners such as Hex Trust.”
Cathy Minter, CRO at R3.

CoinDesk: R3 Teams With Custodian Hex Trust to Help Asian Banks Sell Security Tokens

IBM & R3

In October, our partners R3 and IBM announced a new collaboration to integrate R3’s enterprise blockchain platform, Corda Enterprise, to IBM LinuxONE. As part of the alliance, Hex Trust is working together with IBM and R3 to bring to market enterprise blockchain solutions and more banks and financial institutions into the ecosystem.

“It’s an honour to be part of this alliance to work with R3 and IBM to bring new solutions to market designed to facilitate the institutional adoption of digital assets at scale.”Alessio Quaglini, CEO and co-founder of Hex Trust


In August, Hex Trust partnered with Fidinam, a global consultancy firm providing corporate tax & accounting services for digital assets. The partnership and integration enable Fidinam to provide digital asset services to their global clients leveraging our platform. While Hex Trust’s clients can now access specialized digital asset compliance, tax, and accounting services via Fidinam’s global team.

“After successfully relying on Hex Trust for our custody needs, we are ready to recommend and work with Hex Trust to serve our partners and clients worldwide.”Filippo Buzzi, Head of Blockchain Desk at Fidinam

Celo Alliance

Hex Trust joined the Celo Alliance in May as the Asia-based custodian and to support its native token, Celo Gold. It’s an inclusive and decentralized community of mission-aligned organizations across a variety of industries, including the leading blockchain projects like Coinbase and VCs like Polychain and a16z. Hex Trust joins as the Asia-based custodian alongside US-based Anchorage.

In August we announced the investment from Kenetic Capital, one of Asia’s leading blockchain firms. Kenetic is an early pioneer of digital asset investments with investments in over 130 leading blockchain companies globally.

“We are thrilled to join Hex Trust on their mission to bring banks and financial institutions into the digital asset age. Digital assets will transform capital markets and facilitate the greatest economic expansion the world has seen in a century, and we believe experienced teams like Hex Trust are positioned to capture the Asian Market.”Jehan Chu, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Kenetic

Security Tokens

2020 saw the resurgence of security token (STO) projects as regulatory framework finally catches up with technology. In August, we were appointed INX’s Asia-based custodian for their US$117M IPO/STO.

“We are consistently impressed with Hex Trust’s growth in the region, and their adherence to regulatory standards, it’s been a pleasure working with them.”
Douglas Borthwick, Chief Marketing Officer, Head of Business Development at INX.

Banks & Financial Institutions

Enabling banks and financial institutions to enter the ecosystem is a key focus for Hex Trust. There are many developments behind the scenes, and 2020 was certainly the year where banks publicly made their moves in the industry. We’ve been working with several banks which we’ll hopefully be able to announce in 2021.

Digital Asset Ecosystem

As the need for licensed and regulatory compliant custody increased, we onboarded many key projects in the digital asset ecosystem such as Terra, Linear Finance, Rio DeFi, Mantra Dao, Mirror Protocol and SPARK, to name a few.

“Hex Trust has the highest level of security for a range of wallets and digital assets, and also the flexibility to customise to specific requirements and our needs.” Kevin Tai, Cofounder of Linear Finance

“Working with Hex Trust helps us minimize the technical and operational risks associated with holding large amounts of digital assets.” James Anderson, CEO at RioDeFi

“Looking at Hex Trust’s track record and client portfolio, this partnership appeared like a no brainer.” John Patrick Mullin, Co-Founder and Council Member at The MANTRA DAO Foundation

Team & Offices

Over the last year, we’ve assembled a world-class team of veteran technologists and banking experts. The team has substantial experience previously building institutional technology platforms and securities businesses for the likes of HSBC, Standard Chartered, CLSA, and Bloomberg.

Key recent additions include Colin Brooks (Ex-HSBC Global Head of Custody) who joins our Advisory Board and Jehan Chu (Co-founder of Kenetic Capital) who joins our Board of Directors.

“I’m excited to join the Hex Trust Advisory Board to help the business scale, optimize its custody platform and operations, and onboard more banks and financial institutions as clients. As the banking sector adopts digital assets, they need specialist platforms like Hex Trust, which are specifically built to address their complex compliance needs, internal processes, and security requirements.” Colin Brooks, Member of the Advisory Board at Hex Trust

The Hex Trust team is currently at over 25 people, and we now have offices across Asia and Europe in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Germany.

Product Updates

The technology team worked hard over 2020 to ensure we have the leading bank-grade custody platform for digital assets. We continued to build Hex Safe’s design, architecture and development around six key pillars to ensure it’s the gold standard in the industry. It’s a testament to our team’s hard work to see us pass multiple rigorous due diligence processes from regulators, banks and auditing firms.

Over the last year, we continued to integrate some of the leading protocols and token standards, to ensure extensive coverage of digital assets.

In September, we partnered with Terra to enable the integration of the Terra blockchain and the support of staking services for the Luna token within our custody platform.

Hex Trust announced in July the full integration of the Tezos blockchain. The integration enables Hex Trust to provide banking-grade custody for their XTZ token, any Security Tokens projects built on the protocol and enabling staking/baking functionalities within Hex Safe.

Over the last year, we continually optimized the security framework around digital assets held in custody with us. The above image shows the five layers we focus on.

The summer of 2020 saw the explosive rise of decentralized finance (DeFi). We’ve been building a DeFi module to enable institutions to access the ecosystem — due to launch soon in 2021.

In The Media & Events

We regularly participated in ecosystem events which were, unfortunately, all predominantly online during 2020 due to Covid. Events focused on educating banks and financial institutions on their transition to digital assets.

Highlights included webinars hosted by banking giants State Street and Deutsche Bank — clearly demonstrating their growing interest in the sector.

While on the other side, we regularly shared insights on the banking sector’s adoption to the crypto community. Here’s our CEO, Alessio Quaglini, on Thinking Crypto, one of the leading crypto YouTube channels back in August.

In November, IBM created a case study on our partnership and how we’re “enabling exceptional security and liquidity for digital assets at enterprise scale”.

In September, The Asset wrote a feature on us in ‘The Rise of Digital Custodians’.

October’s CordaCon saw our CTO and Cofounder, Rafal Czerniawski, demo our capabilities providing custody for a Central Bank Digital Currency built on Corda Enterprise, leveraging IBM LinuxONE, all wrapped up in our bank-grade custody platform, Hex Safe.

Hex Trust Insights

Here are a couple of research piece highlights from our CEO, Alessio Quaglini.

Digital Asset Wallets & Signing Algorithms: A Custodian’s Overview (July)

3 Critical Responsibilities of Digital Asset Custodians (August)

Looking Ahead: 2021

Moving into 2021, the market isn’t showing signs of slowing down. The regulatory framework is in place in key jurisdictions enabling more banks, financial institutions, corporates and retail investors to comfortably participate.

We foresee institutions continuing to allocate part of their treasury to Bitcoin and billion-dollar funds continuing to diversify holdings to include digital assets. As the sector grows, banks are finding it impossible to ignore the industry for any longer. If they don’t have a digital assets strategy and execute it in 2021, they severely risk being left behind.

Central Bank Digital Currencies will continue their development with additional launches in 2021 — legitimizing the industry further and increasing the need for custody platforms which can support a wide range of digital assets, not only cryptocurrencies

The DeFi space will grow and mature after the summer of 2020’s experimentations. We believe the space won’t just be limited to Ethereum, with other ecosystems showing strong growth potential. Institutional investors who were watching from the sidelines last time, will need institutional-grade platforms (like the DeFi module we’re building) to securely participate this time in a compliant manner.

And of course Bitcoin, how high will it go? Reaching US$100K doesn’t seem too far away right now.

We hope you’re looking forward to 2021 as much as us. Stay tuned for some big Hex Trust announcements coming in the next few weeks. It promises to be an exciting year ahead!

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