The security company best known for making giant armored trucks and inspiring elaborate heist fantasies from bored suburban kids is getting in on crypto.
Brink’s, the 163-year-old Virginia-based security company announced it’s partnering with Swiss cryptocurrency custody firm Metaco to provide physical “disaster recovery” solutions for private cryptocurrency key backups. In the event of one of those doomsday disaster scenarios, Brink’s will hold a physical backup of crypto customers’ keys in one of their secured vaults.
In a statement, Brinks Senior Commercial Director Oliver Buckle-Wright said they are working to provide a “secure air-gapped service,” to protect Metaco customers’ assets. Those physical backups will come in the form of certified “smartcards,” Metaco Vice President of Strategic Alliances Seamus Donoghue said in an interview with CoinDesk.
“Brink’s has custody locations around the globe and their specialty is secure logistics, handling banknotes for all the major financial institutions, precious metals, and storage of those precious materials on behalf of institutions,” Donoghue told CoinDesk. “So it was a very natural fit for the physical backup of private keys to be stored in a distributed way across multiple vaults by Brink’s.”
Brink’s additional security layer couldn’t come sooner for the crypto industry. Though cryptocurrencies were pitched, in part as a far more secure digital alternative to transfer funds, crypto-related theft has skyrocketed in recent years. In 2021, according to a recent report from the firm Chainalysis, crypto-related crimes hit a record high of $14 billion. That’s nearly double the $7.8 billion worth of crypto crime the firm reported in 2020. That rise in crime occurred in tandem with a huge uptick in cryptocurrency transactions. Total crypto transactions last year reportedly grew to a mind-boggling $15.8 trillion, a staggering 567% from the year before.
Though the overall share of stolen crypto remains low, the report’s author’s warned continued theft could threaten adoption by newcomers.
“Criminal abuse of cryptocurrency creates huge impediments for continued adoption, heightens the likelihood of restrictions being imposed by governments, and worst of all victimizes innocent people around the world,” the report’s author writes.
Those overall figures are supported by a sputtering of high profile thefts in recent months. Earlier this year, hackers reportedly made off with $625 million in cryptocurrency from the Ronin blockchain, a figure believed to be the biggest theft of cryptocurrency in history. A few months earlier, the trading platform Crypo.com admitted hackers made off with around $34 million worth of cryptocurrency from their platform.