London-based crypto custody and settlements infrastructure provider Koine has gone into insolvency.

Koine, whose clients included Bitfinex and brokerage GCEX, was helmed by CEO and chairman Hugh Hughes, the former CEO of Societe Generale Securities.

Koine had investment commitments with two parties that were due to provide a total of around £15 million (US$21.2 million) at the end of January, Koine co-founder Phil Mochan told CoinDesk via email.

“One of those parties was unable to complete on schedule and so the other party pulled out,” Mochan said. “A number of Koine’s clients offered to invest themselves but the total sums offered and timing were insufficient to keep the business alive.”

The firm told CoinDesk that any client funds it had held have been returned.

The institutional crypto space is coming of age, with banks partnering with startups and fintech platforms searching for acquisition targets. But the tech is complex and expensive to build and the coming wave of interest is breaking too late for Koine.

The administrator of Koine Money Ltd is Antony Batty & Company LLP.  

Founded in 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority–regulated Koine aimed to bridge the gap involving institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges and trading platforms with an ambitious custody and settlement tech stack. 

On reflection, building out the next stages of the Koine platform proved to be a heavy lift, taking longer and involving more capital than expected, said Mochan, who is now working with Penrose Digital, a neobank serving the crypto industry in the European Union and the U.K.

“Given the excellent tech and enthusiastic clients, it remains to be seen whether a phoenix will arise from its ashes or whether an investment bank decides to pick up the reins and accelerate itself into the market,” Mochan said.

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