New York based crypto finance company Gemini has purchased Shard-x, with the goal of integrating Shard-x’s multiparty computation technology (MPC) into Gemini’s security processes.
MPC technology is a crypto protocol that shares a computation between a number of different parties. In the case of the private key for a crypto hardware wallet, for example, MPC tech would enable several different people to unlock the wallet without any individual party ever seeing the entire private key.
Gemini says it will deploy Shard X’s protocols into its distributed, multi-site key management and signing infrastructure – increasing the speed with which Gemini can transfer customer assets and provide support for new asset listings and usage on its platform.
Gemini founder Tyler Winklevoss says with the fast-moving nature of crypto markets, the Shard-x tech will help Gemini’s account holders to “keep pace with liquidity needs and market demands.” Gemini’s focus on transaction speeds is evidenced in much of the company’s marketing material.
Launched in London in 2018 by Yaniv Neu-Ner, Nikita Lesnikov, and Navaho De Wet, Shard-x raised around $650,000 in angel investment in 2019. The company’s MPC technology generates key fragments which are used in a distributed signing protocol as mentioned above. Shard-x’s team has also developed a portable MPC implementation that aims to run in high-security environments, such as HSMs, delivering high integrity and secure processing of the private key fragments that protect digital assets. It is not known how much Gemini paid for the company.
With over $30 billion of crypto assets under custody, Gemini says the addition of Shard-x’s MPC will work in concert with other aspects of Gemini’s custody offering, which includes role-based governance protocols, several layers of biometric access controls, and physical security to safeguard the sensitive key material stored in Gemini’s government-rated hardware security modules (HSMs), that controls its customers’ assets.