(Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc. is reviewing its digital-assets custody partnership with Swiss fintech firm Metaco and has started informal talks with other providers, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The people asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. The Wall Street bank announced the partnership with Metaco a year ago. Ripple Labs Inc., which is locked in a years-long dispute with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, agreed last month to buy Metaco for $250 million. 

Moves by traditional financial firms into the digital-assets industry have created opportunities for the sector’s startups, particularly in custody. But several companies have ended partnerships with crypto custodians this year, underscoring challenges the smaller firms face in an area where technological change is rapid. 

It wasn’t clear whether the review is linked to Ripple’s acquisition of Metaco. Ripple said when announcing the deal that Metaco would operate as an independent brand and be run by its chief executive officer, Adrien Treccani.

A representative for Citi declined to comment, as did Treccani. A Ripple spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment. 

EDX Markets, a recently launched crypto exchange backed by firms including Citadel Securities, Fidelity Digital Assets and Charles Schwab Corp., dropped its plan to use Paxos as a custodian and is now in final talks with Anchorage Digital about a new partnership, Bloomberg News reported this week. State Street Corp. in March said it ended a licensing agreement with crypto custody firm Copper. 

Custody became a hot topic in the crypto industry after the failure of several prominent firms last year, including Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX, left millions of investors with assets stuck. San Fransisco-based Ripple has estimated that the crypto custody market for institutions alone could reach almost $10 trillion by 2030.

Ripple’s takeover of Metaco was part of its strategy to expand beyond payments, giving clients the ability to tokenize, settle and custody any asset. Tokenization refers to the practice of creating digital representations of assets using blockchain technology. When announcing its partnership with Metaco last June, Citi said the companies would explore how to custody assets like traditional securities.

Metaco also struck partnerships with BNP Paribas SA and Societe Generale SA’s digital asset arm Forge last year. A spokesperson for BNP Paribas declined to comment on whether its partnership was still active. A spokesperson for Societe Generale said the partnership with Metaco is “still operational.” 

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