Protego Becomes Second Crypto Firm to Win Bank Charter From OCC

The conditional approval from the U.S. banking regulator follows Anchorage's approval last month.

Feb 5, 2021 at 4:11 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:07 p.m. UTC

Seattle-based Protego Trust Bank has received conditional approval for a trust charter from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to custody digital assets.

Protego is the second applicant to receive conditional approval from the OCC, following Anchorage. It follows several other digital asset companies that have received bank charters, including crypto exchange Kraken and de novo bank Avanti, which both received state charters in Wyoming. 

The newly chartered trust bank will also offer a trading platform for clients, a service for issuing new digital assets and a peer-to-peer lending platform for its clients, according to a press release.

“Protego’s integrated offering will be of great benefit to institutions that want to be able to store their assets in a federally regulated bank,” Jonathan Silverman, Protego’s chief strategy officer, said in a statement. Silverman previously worked at Kraken and BitGo.

Protego has 18 months to meet all regulatory requirements before it converts to a national bank under the conditional charter, according to a second press release from the OCC.

Protego was the first digital asset–focused trust company chartered in Washington state, according to the firm’s release. Chris Hunter, Protego’s head of business development, said the firm has secured commitments for more than $1.5 billion in assets under custody.

“The OCC has made huge strides in a short period of time with respect to the approval of digital banks, and we are thrilled to have been among the first approvals issued by the OCC,” Greg Gilman, Protego’s founder and executive chair, said in a statement.


The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.