Canadian Digital Asset Custodian Balance Incorporates Special Purpose Trust; Commits $10M

Balance, a Canadian digital asset custodian, incorporated Balance Trust Company this week as a special purpose trust under the Loan and Trust Corporations Act in Alberta. In connection with the issuance of the letters patent by Alberta’s Treasury Board and Finance (ATBF), Balance committed $10 million of regulatory capital into this new wholly-owned subsidiary towards becoming a qualified Canadian and U.S. custodian.

The process took more than 18 months and included closely coordinating with the ATBF since formally applying in late August last year. Since then, Balance:

  • Audited its financial statements and performed its first independent proof of assets under custody;
  • Got SOC 2 Type 2-certified and performed an in-depth penetration test of its systems with a top-tier global firm;
  • Bolstered its insurance program by purchasing additional capacity for its vault risk, D&O, and cyber liability policies; and
  • Added a chief financial officer and chief compliance and risk officer to its senior management team.

Balance Trust Company’s board is composed of:

George Bordianu (internal seat) is Balance’s co-founder, president, and CEO. Bordianu holds an MSc. in Computer Science degree from McGill University. Prior to Balance, he worked in the digital media sector as 500px’s Director of Engineering. Before 500px, he was the co-founder and CTO of YourExtraLife, an early mobile social network.

Alex McDougall (affiliated seat) is the co-founder and CIO of Bicameral Ventures, a Canadian digital asset venture fund and an early investor in Balance. He is also the president and CEO of Stablecorp and a former managing director at 3iQ, the issuer of North America’s first Bitcoin ETF. Prior to Bicameral Ventures, McDougall built his career as an investment banker at the Bank of Montreal.

James Slazas (affiliated seat) is the founding partner and CEO of DARMA Capital, a CFTC-registered U.S. commodity trading advisor, pool operator, and swap firm managing more than $1.5 billion in digital assets. He is also the president and CEO of VaultLink and an early investor in Balance. Slazas created the Global Risk Management group across Lehman Brothers’ London, Hong Kong, and Swiss banks, as well as, more recently, ConsenSys Capital, as its founding member and director of capital markets.

Colin Pyle (unaffiliated seat) is the EVP of strategy and corporate development at RFA Capital Holdings, which serves as the umbrella organization for RFA Bank of Canada, RFA Mortgage Finance, and several other subsidiaries. Combined, the RFA group of companies has more than $65 billion in assets under management and an additional $25 billion-plus in assets under administration.

Jean Desgagné (unaffiliated seat) is the former president and CEO of the Canadian Depository for Securities (CDS) and TMX Global Solutions. He is an angel investor and early advisor to Balance. Desgagné serves as an independent director on multiple boards, including CAA Club Group, BDO Canada, and the Province of Ontario’s Internal Audit Committee (IT Sector, chair). He also served on the board of 3iQ and is the former Chair of CPA Ontario.

Over the coming weeks, Balance’s focus is on registering Balance Trust Company to commence operations as a qualified custodian, enabling it to serve public ETF and mutual fund issuers, investment broker-dealers, and advisers.

“Canadian regulated entities are still forced to this day to use U.S. custodians or Canadian custodians leveraging US-based technology. We’re laser-focused on bringing a truly local solution to the ecosystem and are grateful to the team at the ATBF for their help and guidance in achieving this mission and for granting us this letters patent,” said Bordianu.

“Balance has truly built a next-generation custodian. Its platform and technology deliver above and beyond those of large industry names, which is why we’re enthusiastic to provide them with the needed capital and resources to become qualified and expand to the Canadian and the U.S. regulated markets,” added Slazas.

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