Enabling exceptional security and liquidity for digital assets
How Hex Trust drives rapid business growth with blockchain innovation

Change is coming. Digital assets are set to revolutionize financial markets—the only question is when.

Breakthroughs in cryptographic, security and distributed ledger techniques are expanding the adoption of blockchain technology beyond payments and small-scale experimentation. Decentralized ledgers can now be used to create sovereign currencies, stablecoins, digital securities, and other types of tokenized contracts. For those brave enough to lead the way, there could be trillions of dollars of value to unlock.

So, what’s holding financial institutions back from widespread adoption? One factor is the lack of digital asset custody solutions that deliver on both accessibility and security, plus the ability to provide these capabilities at enterprise scale. Hex Trust aims to fill this gap in the market.

Rafal Czerniawski, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Hex Trust, explains: “There are many blockchain wallets out there, but few are designed to manage private keys at scale. We wanted to build a platform that was as easy to use as any other banking system, and that also offered bank-grade security and resilience.”

Market expansion


Opens access to a market worth trillions of dollars for its clients

Market growth


Digital assets market could reach USD 10 trillion by 2023

We believe that the size of the digital assets market could reach USD 10 trillion by 2023. With Hex Safe, built on IBM technology, both Hex Trust and our clients can play our part in unlocking some of this potential value. Rafal Czerniawski CTO Hex Trust

To create its digital asset custody platform, Hex Trust began looking for the right underlying infrastructure. In addition to scale, security and resilience, flexibility also topped the company’s selection criteria. “It was important to us to find an open platform to support our vision,” Czerniawski adds. “There are so many fantastic open-source tools out there that we didn’t want to lock ourselves into a proprietary technology.”

Hex Safe is born

Hex Trust chose to build its digital asset custody platform, Hex Safe, on the IBM® LinuxONE solution with IBM Hyper Protect Virtual Servers. The IBM technology offered the ideal combination of security, performance, stability and openness to help make the company’s vision a reality.

“The combination of IBM LinuxONE and IBM Hyper Protect Virtual Servers gives us the most secure foundations possible,” comments Czerniawski. “IBM CryptoCards are the only HSMs [Hardware Security Modules] that are FIPS 140-2 Level 4 compliant. Since IBM LinuxONE is built on the same technology as IBM Z, we had no doubts about the processing power or reliability. At the same time, choosing IBM LinuxONE allows us to take advantage of a host of open-source tools with additional enterprise-grade features — the best of both worlds.”

Following a successful proof of concept (PoC) exercise, Hex Trust kicked off development of Hex Safe in close collaboration with IBM. The Hex Trust and IBM teams hold weekly calls and engage on a dedicated Slack channel to keep track of progress and overcome any issues fast.

“We were worried that working with such a big vendor might mean that we got lost in the mix,” Czerniawski says. “But we’ve been blown away by IBM—they’re always responsive, and their domain experts truly understand our industry and business priorities. They go above and beyond the expected. Just recently, they delivered custom cryptographic algorithms in just days and at no additional charge.”

Hex Safe enables users to securely store assets and to access services offered in the digital asset ecosystem, focusing on integrating brokers, prime brokers, exchanges, lending and borrowing platforms, staking solutions, and other custodians. Hex Trust is working with IBM to launch the solution. “Partnering with IBM lends credibility to the Hex Trust offering, because IBM has such a long and successful history of securing financial transactions,” Czerniawski adds.

In choosing IBM, we get unmatched security and scalability for our platform, contributing to our competitive advantage. Rafal Czerniawski CTO Hex Trust
Making a big impact

By securely connecting capital and service providers across the digital asset ecosystem, Hex Trust is removing barriers to blockchain technologies for financial institutions. In this way, the company is helping to fast-track the transformation of financial markets.

“We believe that the size of the digital assets market could reach USD 10 trillion by 2023,” says Czerniawski. “With Hex Safe, built on IBM technology, Hex Trust and our clients can play our part in releasing this potential value.”

Working with IBM, Hex Trust is building a unique offering that stands out in the marketplace. By differentiating itself from competitors, the company is ideally positioned to capture market share. Czerniawski adds, “In choosing IBM, we get unmatched security and scalability for our platform, contributing to our competitive advantage.”

Hex Trust recently discovered a new delivery model for its platform on IBM Cloud®, helping to boost the appeal of its offering even more.

Czerniawski concludes: “We found out that IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Virtual Servers share the same architecture as the on-premises version, allowing us to run and deploy our software on IBM Cloud. This gives our prospects the option of running a PoC on IBM Cloud, only deploying IBM LinuxONE on-premises once they’ve seen the transformational benefits for themselves. Or they could choose to run their disaster recovery on IBM Cloud—it’s yet another great bonus of working with IBM.”

Hex Trust logo
About Hex Trust

Through its Hex Safe digital asset custody platform Hex Trust ( (link resides outside of ibm.com) enables banks, financial institutions, asset managers and exchanges to safely, securely and efficiently operate digital asset businesses. The company is led by financial services experts and veteran banking technologists, and is fully licensed and insured.

Take the next step

To learn more about the IBM solutions featured in this story, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner.

View more case studies Contact IBM Plastic Bank

Cleaning up the planet and empowering people to lift themselves out of poverty

Read the case study
Newlight Technologies, Inc.

Turning greenhouse gas into a resource verified with blockchain technology

Read the case study

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021. IBM Corporation, IBM Cloud, New Orchard Road, Armonk, NY 10504

Produced in the United States of America, January 2021.

IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, IBM Cloud, and IBM Z are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copyright-trademark.

The registered trademark Linux® is used pursuant to a sublicense from the Linux Foundation, the exclusive licensee of Linus Torvalds, owner of the mark on a world­wide basis.

This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates.

The performance data and client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.

The client is responsible for ensuring compliance with laws and regulations applicable to it. IBM does not provide legal advice or represent or warrant that its services or products will ensure that the client is in compliance with any law or regulation.

Statement of Good Security Practices: IT system security involves protecting systems and information through prevention, detection and response to improper access from within and outside your enterprise. Improper access can result in information being altered, destroyed, misappropriated or misused or can result in damage to or misuse of your systems, including for use in attacks on others. No IT system or product should be considered completely secure and no single product, service or security measure can be completely effective in preventing improper use or access. IBM systems, products and services are designed to be part of a lawful, comprehensive security approach, which will necessarily involve additional operational procedures, and may require other systems, products or services to be most effective. IBM DOES NOT WARRANT THAT ANY SYSTEMS, PRODUCTS OR SERVICES ARE IMMUNE FROM, OR WILL MAKE YOUR ENTERPRISE IMMUNE FROM, THE MALICIOUS OR ILLEGAL CONDUCT OF ANY PARTY.

Statements regarding IBM’s future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only.