(Bloomberg) -- Copper Technologies Ltd. hired a team of executives from Bank of America Corp. to run a unit developing infrastructure for prime brokerage platforms, seeking to meet demand from institutional investors and banks for more direct access to cryptocurrencies.

The London-based digital asset custodian said the unit will be led by Michael Roberts, who joins immediately from BofA, where he was head of the bank’s prime brokerage platform for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. Roberts will be joined by former BofA directors Adam Groom and Paul Barham from the same team at the bank, as well as Ben Carr and Ross Budgen. 

The team from BofA join a growing pool of bankers from New York to Singapore trading traditional finance for the crypto industry. The annual Bitcoin conference in Miami last week drew executives from giants like Fidelity International Ltd., Mastercard Inc. and Ernst & Young LLP, in addition to the thousands of crypto enthusiasts that flock to the event.

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Most firms seeking to offer prime brokerage in cryptocurrencies must currently purchase digital assets on an exchange before being able to trade — a problem Copper sought to solve with its ClearLoop network launched in 2020, Chief Executive Officer Dmitry Tokarev said. 

Copper’s infrastructure for prime brokerages will allow them to further move the trading process away from exchanges, “to make sure that a true prime brokerage offering can be enabled in this space,” he said in an interview. 

“There’s not a single sell-side institution on the planet, or at least in the top 20, that is not working on something in digital assets,” Tokarev said. 

Copper is in the process of raising its next funding round, which is expected to value the startup at around $3 billion. 

The company is still in discussions about its registration with the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority, after it didn’t get full approval under anti-money laundering rules by the regulator’s March 31 deadline. Copper is pursuing separate plans to seek regulatory approvals in Switzerland, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg last month.

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