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UPDATE 1-BNY Mellon joins cryptocurrency party with new Digital Assets division

·1 min read

(Changes sourcing, adds background)

Feb 11 (Reuters) - Bank of NY Mellon joined the rushby top-tier financial services firms to bet on digitalcurrencies such as bitcoin on Thursday, saying it had formed anew unit to help clients hold, transfer and issue digitalassets.

The new unit at BNY Mellon, called the Digital Assets unit,is expected to roll out the offerings later this year, the banksaid. It will be headed by Mike Demissie, head of AdvancedSolutions at BNY Mellon, which is America's oldest bank.

Last month, BlackRock Inc, the world's largest assetmanager, added bitcoin as an eligible investment to two funds.

On Wednesday, credit card giant Mastercard Inc saidit was planning to offer support for some cryptocurrencies onits network this year.

"Growing client demand for digital assets, maturity ofadvanced solutions, and improving regulatory clarity present atremendous opportunity for us to extend our current serviceofferings to this emerging field," said Roman Regelman, CEO ofAsset Servicing and Head of Digital at BNY Mellon.

The announcement comes days after Elon Musk's Teslarevealed it had bought $1.5 billion worth of the cryptocurrencyand would soon accept it as a form of payment for its cars,signaling a push into the mainstream for the digital asset thatwas for long shunned by traditional financial firms.

Musk's backing drove bitcoin to a record high.

BNY Mellon's plans to push into digital assets was earlierreported on Thursday by the Wall Street Journal.(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by VinayDwivedi and Shailesh Kuber)