Boston-based Fidelity Investments, a multinational financial services firm with $2.8 trillion in assets under management, is ramping up its custody and trading services for crypto assets.
The Bitcoin-friendly powerhouse first started mining BTC in 2014 by setting up a $200,000 crypto mining facility “just for fun” and turning it into a profit.
Fidelity CEO Abigail Johnson says she’s confident that digital currencies are here to stay, and that people will increasingly adopt crypto payments. In an interview with the Financial Times, Johnson says Fidelity started adding clients in the first quarter.
She expects the full roll-out of services for digital assets to be a boon for the fragmented and complicated crypto custody industry.
Fidelity’s expansion in the space marks another critical moment for cryptocurrencies as they gradually gain legitimacy in the financial services industry. Advancements continue against a backdrop of ongoing challenges and struggles with regulators and governments around the world.
“[The cryptocurrency industry] is not going away. As long as the value is there, people will look to preserve that value.”
Cryptocurrency custody is a new frontier for Fidelity, and the company is trying to develop products and services that solve the main pain points of storing digital assets.
“There are people out there with significant amounts of wealth in cryptocurrencies, probably bitcoin, and they’re looking for somebody to hold those coins for them because in the event of their passing — which is going to happen at some point or another — you’ve got to have a plan to be able to get those coins to somebody else.”
According to the report, Fidelity Digital Assets is positioning itself as a competitor to San Francisco-based Coinbase Custody which stores billions of digital assets for its clients.
By filing an application with the New York State Department of Financial Services in order to operate as a limited-purpose trust company, Fidelity plans to use its brand name and reputation to leverage existing relationships with independent advisers and reach a much broader range of institutions.