Wall Street Crypto Firm Valkyrie Is Holding a $700M Protocol Treasury

NEM and Symbol are entrusting Valkyrie with their trove of digital assets.

Jan 28, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 28, 2022 at 5:03 p.m. UTC

Danny is CoinDesk's deputy business editor. He owns BTC, ETH and SOL.

Valkyrie Investments will oversee NEM and Symbol protocol’s $700 million token treasury in a tie-up between modern-day asset managers and the digital realm.

The multisignature setup, which was formalized on Jan. 25, according to on-chain data, is an early instance of collaboration between two disparate corners of crypto. Valkyrie is a Wall Street-facing firm known for its bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund (ETF); Symbol is one of the many blockchain protocols where pseudonymous users are building “the future of finance.”

Their seemingly odd coupling comes as the crypto industry takes a hard look at pseudonymous treasury management. Early Thursday, news broke that reserve currency protocol Wonderland counted Michael Patryn, co-founder of failed Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX, as its keeper of coin.

NEM and Symbol – two separate blockchain protocols that voted to merge – have had “a bit of a history” of treasury management troubles, Hatchet, a core contributor told CoinDesk. In the project’s Discord, she’s repeatedly pressed for a partnership that would shore up that checkered reputation.

“Partnering with someone like Valkyrie really helps ensure that the community has that second pair of eyes, that second set of governance, making sure that these funds are actually being used for the benefit of the NEM and Symbol community,” Hatchet said.

That partnership comes in the form of a multisignature smart contract holding nearly 3 billion NEM tokens (worth about $295 million at current prices). Valkyrie employees control four signature slots and core contributors Jaguar, Hatchet and Gimre wield the other three. Five signatures are necessary to execute.

“I think that we're the only ones working with a DAO and protocol treasury as an asset manager,” Valkyrie CEO Leah Wald told CoinDesk in an interview.

Her company will take over the role an in-house finance team might usually serve: auditing, accounting, asset management and the like. Their newest client opted to pay a sub-1% management fee, according to the Discord.

The arrangement was met with hardly any backlash. Executed through a hard fork, over 92% of network validators approved the change, according to Hatchet. They’d been planning the shift since last August, Hatchet said.

NEM and Symbol’s conjoined communities are looking toward Valkyrie as their finance guru, the Discord server shows. Hatchet variously described Valkyrie as akin to a “CFO,” a dealmaker, a reputation builder and a possible bridge to the worlds of fintech and venture capital.

Valkyrie also sees it as a brand-building opportunity.

Wald said there’s “huge potential” in servicing DAOs’ treasury management needs. “We are talking with a few other protocols,” she said.

By Wald’s telling, there’s never been a better moment to infuse some trust into the sometimes shadowy world of pseudonymous on-chain money management. Wonderland aside, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler “is highly focused on our industry,” she said.

“I think that it does make sense for cryptocurrency protocols to partner with traditional finance asset managers or general partners as we're all in the hot seat right now,” Wald said.


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Danny is CoinDesk's deputy business editor. He owns BTC, ETH and SOL.

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Danny is CoinDesk's deputy business editor. He owns BTC, ETH and SOL.

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