Gemini Acquires Crypto Custody Firm Shard X

9 June 2021

Gemini wants to enhance the security of its crypto custody offering. 

The cryptocurrency exchange and custodian has purchased a custody tech developer, Shard X, which claims to be the first company to offer multi-party computation (MPC) on hardware security modules (HSMs). In the past, MPC was thought to be too computationally difficult to store shards on hardware. 

Gemini did not disclose the terms of the deal. Shard X will become part of Gemini’s UK affiliate, according to Gemini Chief Operating Officer Noah Perlman. It’s just the latest in a string of crypto custody acquisitions, with Galaxy Digital’s $1.2 billion buy of BitGo being chief among them.

The added Shard X tech will work in conjunction with other aspects of Gemini’s key security, including role-based governance protocols, biometric access controls and physical security. It will also expand Gemini’s reach to decentralized finance (DeFi) and other applications.

“Integrating Shard X’s MPC technology into Gemini’s custody enables us to meet this demand for fast withdrawals, interacting with DeFi staking, or the transferring of digital assets with greater efficiency,” Perlman said in an email. “MPC technology provides a safe and uniform approach for achieving this speed across multiple cryptocurrencies.”

As CoinDesk reported when it came out of stealth late last year, Shard X’s technology had banks squarely in its sights.

“Our big breakthrough is that we’ve managed to compress and optimize the MPC code so that it can run on bank-grade HSMs,” co-founder Yaniv Neu-Ner told CoinDesk at the time.

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