Cubist Launches ‘Non-custodial’ Web3 Private Key Manager

Blockworks exclusive: Cubist launch comes as Web2 and Web3 players alike parse best security practices for the crypto industry


a-image/Shutterstock, modified by Blockworks


Fresh off of locking down its $7 million seed round, Web3 infrastructure startup Cubist is deepening its own contribution to the crypto industry’s homegrown cross-chain security efforts. 

The San Diego-based firm hopes to combat Web3 vulnerabilities with its inaugural security solution, launched Tuesday.

Cubists’ offering is intended, in part, to capitalize on industry interest stemming from Ethereum’s long awaited Shapella upgrade, according to Chief Operating Officer Ann Stefan, also a co-founder.

The move is also designed, Stefan told Blockworks exclusively, to guard against unintentional errors that Web3 engineers introduce in coding tech stacks — the kind of errors that open up security vulnerabilities that leave dApp users vulnerable to exploits. That extends to token bridges connecting blockchain networks to Ethereum (ETH), she said. 

“Right now in Web3, engineers are having to think about the low-level bits and bytes of what they’re doing,” Stefan said in an interview. “They’re having to write a lot of low-level, error-prone, verbose code that spans the entire tech stack.” 

“So, there’s a couple of issues there. One is that you have to basically know everything to get anything done. And the second is that — just by the very nature of it — it’s prone to errors.”

Ann Stefan, Cubist co-founder/COO | Source: Cubist

Read more: Solving Web3’s Developer Problem: Web2 Remains Hesitant

The startup has partnered with fellow Web3 infrastructure company Ankr on the launch.  

“Really, where we’re coming [from] with this problem with Cubist is trying to abstract away much of that low-level detail, so that engineers can really focus on their product — and not have to try to be security experts and still be able to build secure products,” Stefan said. 

A statement from Cubist described the product as a “non-custodial key management platform” that is “designed to help infrastructure engineering teams secure and programmatically manage their private key.”

The crypto key management software is built so that “no one — including Cubist — can see, copy, or steal private user keys,” the company said in its statement. 

Cubist’s new key management software has already been “securing Ankr’s Ethereum validators, including the execution of safe withdrawals,” according to the release. 

Stanley Wu, Ankr’s co-founder and chief technology officer, said Cubist is “uniquely qualified to secure Ankr’s most critical workflows” when it comes to “Ethereum liquid staking.” 

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