Web3 Businesses: Which Account Type is Right for Your Funds – Custodian vs Non-Custodian



21 July 2023


If you’ve been keeping up with the dynamic world of blockchain technology, you’re aware of its rapid evolution. Within this transformative landscape, Web3 businesses have emerged as an exciting phenomenon. These businesses operate on decentralized networks, prioritizing transparency, security, and user control.

As businesses increasingly explore the world of cryptocurrency, one crucial decision they face is selecting the right type of wallet to manage their digital assets. This choice often boils down to custodial or non-custodial accounts/wallets, each with its own set of advantages and considerations. In this article, we will explore the key factors that businesses should take into account when deciding between these two options.

Getting the basics right

First things first: what is a custodian account? A custodian account is a type of account where a third party holds your assets on your behalf. This is common in traditional finance, where banks and other financial institutions act as custodians for their clients’ assets. In the context of web3, custodian accounts are often used by centralized exchanges such as Coinbase or Binance and other third-party services that hold users’ cryptocurrency assets.

On the other hand, a non-custodian account is an account where you hold your own assets directly. Users retain their private keys and can manage their assets without the need for a third party. This approach offers the highest level of security and privacy, as users are not dependent on a third party to protect their assets or data. In web3, non-custodian accounts are often associated with decentralized finance (DeFi) applications and wallets, where users have full control over their assets and can transact directly with other users on a peer-to-peer basis.

The key differences

Custodial wallets often provide user-friendly interfaces and seamless integration with cryptocurrency exchanges and trading platforms, making them an attractive choice for businesses new to the crypto space. They offer simplified account management and typically provide customer support for any issues that may arise.

Many custodial wallet providers are regulated financial institutions that adhere to industry standards and regulatory requirements. This compliance can be advantageous for businesses operating in jurisdictions with stringent Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations.

However, using non-custodial wallets give businesses complete control over their private keys, reducing the risk of unauthorized access or theft by external parties. This control is particularly appealing for businesses handling large amounts of cryptocurrency or those with specific security requirements.

Making the right choice

When deciding between custodial and non-custodial wallets, businesses must consider various factors, including:

  1. Security Requirements: Evaluate the level of security your business demands. If you handle significant amounts of cryptocurrency or operate in a high-risk environment, a non-custodial wallet may be more appropriate.
  2. Regulatory Compliance: Understand the regulatory landscape in your jurisdiction. If compliance with KYC and AML regulations is crucial, custodial wallets from regulated providers may be a safer option.
  3. Technical Expertise: Assess the technical capabilities and expertise of your team. Non-custodial wallets often require more technical proficiency for secure key management, while custodial wallets offer a more user-friendly experience.
  4. Risk Tolerance: Consider your business’s risk tolerance when it comes to relying on third-party service providers. Custodial wallets provide convenience but entail trust in the security practices of the provider.


When choosing between custodial and non-custodial accounts, businesses must carefully evaluate their priorities and requirements. Custodial wallets provide convenience and additional security measures but come with the trade-off of reduced control and potential privacy concerns. Non-custodial wallets offer full control, enhanced privacy, and flexibility but demand businesses to take responsibility for security and backup procedures.

Ultimately, the decision rests on factors such as the scale of operations, risk tolerance, regulatory compliance, and the specific needs of the business. Striking a balance between security, control, and convenience will help businesses make an informed choice, ensuring the safe management of their cryptocurrency assets in an increasingly digital world.

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