Prime Trust, a small U.S. financial institution that’s played a behind-the-scenes role in several dollar-backed cryptocurrencies, is entering the hotly competitive crypto custody business. Revealed exclusively to CoinDesk, the Nevada trust company quietly began offering cold storage for bitcoin in mid-July, and will announce next week that it can also handle custody for ether and any token issued on the ethereum blockchain under the ERC-20 standard. Such services are in demand among institutional investors, who despite the bear market find crypto’s returns alluring, but don’t want the bother of protecting the private keys to a digital wallet and/or are required by law to use a qualified custodian. In cold storage, these cryptographic keys, which are like a long password and can be used to drain the money from a wallet, are kept offline, on a hardware device or a piece of paper that’s typically locked away in a safe. However,
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