Signet, a real-time payments platform popular with Signature Bank’s institutional crypto clients, will continue to operate after New York state regulators shuttered Signature Bank on Sunday to “protect depositors,” a source told CoinDesk. Signature Bank’s assets were transferred to Signature Bridge Bank – a new interim entity that will be temporarily run by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
Signet was launched on Jan. 1, 2019, as a proprietary blockchain-based digital payments platform. The service was integrated with digital asset custodian Fireblocks in 2020 to facilitate the secure movement, storage and issuance of digital assets.
Silvergate Bank, another crypto-friendly institution, voluntarily liquidated last week. The firm had previously offered its own real-time payments service, Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN).
After Silvergate’s liquidation, SEN went down the drain with it, leaving Signature Bank’s Signet platform as one of the last places to perform 24/7 crypto banking. But Signature’s shutdown on Sunday seemed to shatter those hopes, leaving key industry players scrambling to find alternative service providers, even though a source told CoinDesk that Signet is still up and running.
“With all of the deposits and substantially all of the assets of former Signature Bank, the bank will continue to take care of its clients, providing a full suite of loan, deposit, and banking services,” said new Signature Bridge Bank CEO Greg D. Carmichael in a press release. The release did not mention Signet.
Jeremy Allaire, CEO of Circle – a Signature Bank client – said his firm has been unable to use Signet to mint and redeem tokens.
“We will be relying on settlements through BNY Mellon,” Allaire said. “Additionally, we will be bringing on a new transaction banking partner with automated minting and redemption potentially as soon as tomorrow.”
CoinDesk asked the source, a person affiliated with Signature Bridge, about the discrepancy between Allaire’s tweet on Sunday and Signature Bridge’s press release on Monday announcing business as usual.
“This tweet came out last night, prior to our announcement today that Signature Bridge Bank is open for business,” the person said.
Fireblocks CEO Michael Shaulov told CoinDesk that Signet “looks like it’s technically working” and that nothing had changed on Fireblocks’ end.
Publicly traded cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase (COIN) also told CoinDesk that it’s business as usual for the firm.
“As shared on Twitter, Coinbase continues to operate as usual,” said Natasha LaBranche, senior manager of corporate communications. “We intend for USDC:USD conversions to remain available 24/7/365.”
A Coinbase spokesperson also confirmed that at least from their end, Signet is still functional.
"As of Tuesday, Signet continues to function and all past and future customer deposits continue to be FDIC-insured," the spokesperson said. "As always, Coinbase maintains multiple banking relationships and we are always working to establish additional contingency to ensure we are prepared for any eventuality."
The help section on the exchange’s website lists four FDIC-insured banking partners – Signature Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Cross River Bank and Pathward (previously known as MetaBank).
“While we have confidence in our bank partners, we do have contingency plans and redundant payment rails to ensure we could continue to serve our clients and provide them access to their cash stored with Coinbase in the event we encountered changes with our bank partners," the Coinbase website states.
UPDATE: (March 15, 2023 16:51 UTC): Added new comment from Coinbase in the 13th paragraph.