With it becoming increasingly obvious that digital assets are here to stay, the age towards which they are being promoted continues to get younger. These are the generations after-all that will inherit the systems currently being established. One recent example of this comes from Upstream – a MERJ Exchange market which facilitates lifecycle management of digital assets – which has now announced a feature it calls ‘Custodial Accounts'.
How Does it Work?
Simply put, custodial accounts allow for minors to access a pared down experience of Upstream and its digital asset marketplace.
In order for a minor to open and use a custodial account, it must be tethered/linked to an already existing, verified, primary account. This is achieved through use of a ‘KYC identity verification code' which is shared between primary and custodial accounts.
Once up-and-running, primary accounts have the ability to not only fund linked custodial accounts for buying/selling, they can also transfer both NFTs and securities.
Where things get interesting, are the various features within these accounts that are made available to minors. Currently, these include,
- Access to NFT Offerings
- Access to IPO Offerings
- Collect NFTs
- Buy/Sell NFTs & Securities
- Bid/Auction NFTs & Securities
Upstream notes that it is able to offer the above possibilities due to its required KYC protocols for all clients, opening the experience of digital assets to minors, where most exchanges are only 18+.
Naturally, with these custodial accounts being targeted towards minor's, there are a few important restrictions imposed. The most crucial of which are,
- No Funding (Custodial accounts can only be funded via a tethered verified account)
- No Withdrawals (Funds cannot be withdrawn directly from a custodian account. They must first be transferred back to a tethered verified account for withdrawal)
By limiting the ability for funding/withdrawing, a required second set of eyes act as a safeguard. This allows for parents to closely monitor activity, ensuring safe practices are being utilized.
Why Target Minors?
As indicated, these new accounts aim to open up the world of investing in digital assets to youth under the age of 18. The inspiration behind this new service came from various areas. Upstream notes that, not only do NFTs represent the modern equivalent of collectibles from generations past (Pokémon, Beanie Babies), the youth of today are growing ‘…up with an innate understanding of blockchain, Web 3.0, and smartphones'. With this being the case, Upstream is hoping that NFTs standing as collectibles, along with the ability for todays youth to accept digital assets, will make this an intriguing service.
Part of this acceptance may stem from the concept of individualized digital identities – An idea which has been fostered for years by the gaming industry. Now, this longstanding exposure has made minors much more amenable to NFTs and digital assets as a whole. As a result, platforms like Upstream are now facilitating actual ownership of said identities through NFTs.
Notably, this is not the first time that Upstream has caught our attention in recent days. Less than two weeks ago, we discussed the company and its hiring of a new Brand Ambassador – NBA Hall of Famer, Dominique Wilkens. This was a strategic hire which will see Wilkens “…advise athletes and other public figures on how to leverage their personal brands to fund their ventures using fan engagement NFTs powered by Upstream’s eco-friendly exchange.”
This recent development aligns with Upstream and its self-described focus on ‘…fan engagement NFTs across sports, music, and entertainment made accessible to the masses.'