How is a Special Purpose Depository Institution (SPDI) compared/different to a Trust Company (TC)

A Wyoming-chartered SPDI is a fully reserved bank that receives deposits and conducts other activity related to the business of banking, including custody, asset servicing, fiduciary asset management, and related activities. SPDIs can handle digital assets, such as virtual currencies, digital securities, and digital consumer assets. SPDIs may deal in traditional assets as well, by serving as a vehicle for business cash management, operational accounts, and any other purpose permitted under applicable law.

A TC is a separate corporate entity owned by a bank or other financial institution, law firm, or independent partnership. Its function is to manage trusts, trust funds, and estates for individuals, businesses, and other entities. A trust is an arrangement that allows a third party or trustee to hold assets or property for a beneficiary or beneficiaries. TCs get their title from the fact that they act in a fiduciary capacity for their clients—as trustees.


SPDIs and TCs are different in multiple ways. Important differences include:

  1. SPDIs are regulated as banks and must comply with banking regulations and special, strict regulations applicable to SPDIs (for example, have their customer deposits of fiat currency at all times backed 100% or more by unencumbered liquid assets, which include U.S. currency and level 1 high-quality liquid assets).
  2. SPDIs advance qualified custody of securities and digital assets. SPDIs may provide custodial services for digital assets and perform authorized transactions for customers. Further, the Wyoming SPDI laws mean that only SPDIs can provide an effective bailment while permitting direct ownership of securities, all provable through the blockchain.
  3. SPDIs may conduct activity under Wyoming regulations tailored to digital assets, which address issues such as technology controls, transaction handling, and custody operations for digital assets.
  4. SPDIs operate under Wyoming law that defines digital assets in conjunction with the Wyoming Uniform Commercial Code and describes, among things, perfection and priority of security interests in digital assets.
  5. SPDIs may resemble custody banks because they will likely be predominantly engaged in custody, safekeeping, and asset servicing activities. A custody bank is focused on safekeeping assets, fiduciary management, transaction processing and settlement, and providing an “on/off” ramp to securities markets, commodities markets, and customer bank accounts.
  6. A SPDI can engage in a wider range of activities than a TC.
  7. A TC is often owned by another entity, such as a bank.

Doug Park, Commercium Legal Advisor April 30, 2023

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Deposits with Commercium and investment products and services of Commercium are not FDIC insured. Your funds are subject to loss of value, including the amount deposit and the principal amount invested.

About Commercium: Commercium Financial, Inc. is a Wyoming SPDI Bank formed to serve as a custodian of digital assets and securities that can bridge to the US federal reserve system. Commercium is required to comply with Wyoming law pertaining to digital assets and special purpose depository institutions as amended. Commercium is required to always maintain 100% of its dollar deposits in reserve. Neither this site nor any press releases or statement made by an officer or director of Commercium contained herein, constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to purchase any securities, although they may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements are based on current beliefs, assumptions, expectations, estimates, regulatory frameworks, and business projections and should not be relied upon, and/or may change without notice, as actual results may differ materially from these expectations due to certain risks, uncertainties, and other important factors. You are cautioned future circumstances, events, or results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements.