Fidelity has finally debunked the conversation on cryptocurrencies as instruments for criminals. The Boston-based multinational financial services company and world’s fourth-largest asset manager has announced the launch of Fidelity Digital Assets, a full-service, enterprise-grade platform for cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Revealed on Monday, the move firmly shifts the narrative from “Bitcoin as a payment method for drug lords and tax evaders” to “cryptocurrency as the next phase of money.”
Several industry insiders are weighing in on the latest developments that are tipping the scales toward crypto with mainstream financial advisors on board and adoption underway, despite Bitcoin’s current year-long bear market and the huge price decline from its all-time high of nearly $20,000 in January.
Bruce Elliott, president of ICOx Innovations, which creates loyalty, reward, gaming and payment cryptocurrencies for companies, says Fidelity’s entry marks a huge step forward for mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency.
“For many reasons, seasoned investors have either been shut out of crypto markets or have been slow to invest up until now. This is a signal that financial markets and regulators are gaining clarity and comfort on the outlook for trading cryptocurrencies.”
Akbar Thobhani, CEO of SFOX, a crypto prime dealer that just raised $22 million to build an institutional crypto asset management platform, says,
“Fidelity Digital Asset’s focus on cryptocurrency custody and trading services for enterprise clients showcases the commitment and interest they’re seeing from their clients, but we’ll really hit a turning point when Fidelity offers cryptocurrency to their retail and 401(k) customers.”
Andy Bromberg, co-founder and president of CoinList, a platform for the best digital-asset companies to manage their token sales, says,
“Every announcement is a vote of confidence in the future viability of digital assets. We expect these moves to further increase the confidence of regulators and help drive the law forward.”
According to Rahul Sood, CEO of Unikrn, a blockchain-based, esports wagering platform, says,
“Crypto is going to break the status quo in fintech, including securities. Fidelity will not be alone. Soon, asset managers will look at blockchain the way banking looks at the Internet: do or die.”
Ben Waters, head of digital at enterprise-grade blockchain infrastructure IOST, applauds the development but sends a reminder about Wall Street’s track record that’s riddled with chapters of plunder and greed.
“Institutions like Fidelity entering the space can be a good thing for crypto, as long as the exploitative financial systems (e.g. fractional reserve banking, commingling, etc.) are not piggybacked into the crypto space. Historically, the legacy financial system has been used to exploit the general public – making the rich get richer and creating centralized points of failure.”
Caitlin Long, a Wall Street veteran, co-founder of the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition and longstanding critic of Wall Street’s entry into the crypto markets due to the likely introduction of financial instruments that serve only to enrich powerful game players who want to maximize Bitcoin for the gains and keep wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, took a favorable position on Fidelity Digital Assets.
“Congrats – this is positive news! This is the good type of financialization. I’ve had big concerns about fractionally-reserved Bitcoin that taxpayer-backed/Fed-backed Wall Street firms will create, but Fidelity is neither. It’s a buy-side firm without taxpayer backing. Devil will be in details, but I believe fiduciaries of pensions/endowments will see less counter party risk with a Fidelity platform than a leveraged, opaque intermediary connected to the sell side. Finally, good news on the Bitcoin financialization front!”