Fidelity is getting into the digital currencies game as the 72-year-old investment firm with more than $7.2 trillion in client assets announced today that it’s launching Fidelity Digital Asset Services, LLC, which will offer enterprise-quality custody and trade execution services for cryptocurrencies to sophisticated institutional investors such as hedge funds, family offices and market intermediaries.
While the new company won’t cater to retail investors, it’s still a big step forward for digital currencies as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are struggling to gain wider public adoption. In a bid for legitimacy via government regulation, the Securities and Exchange Commission has already rejected nine applications for Bitcoin exchange-traded funds, but is open for comments from investors on pending applications until later this month.
“Our goal is to make digitally-native assets, such as bitcoin, more accessible to investors,” said Abigail P. Johnson, Chairman and CEO of Fidelity Investments in a press release. “We expect to continue investing and experimenting, over the long-term, with ways to make this emerging asset class easier for our clients to understand and use.”
“We started exploring blockchain and digital assets several years ago, and those efforts have been successful in helping us understand and advance our thinking around cryptocurrencies,” said Tom Jessop, head of Fidelity Digital Assets. “The creation of Fidelity Digital Assets is the first step in a long-term vision to create a full-service enterprise-grade platform for digital assets.”
While digital currencies and security has long been a topic of issue, Fidelity addressed this by leveraging the latest in blockchain technology.
“In our conversations with institutions, they tell us that in order to engage with digital assets in a meaningful way, they need a trusted platform provider to enter this space. These institutions require a sophisticated level of service and security, equal to the experience they’re used to when trading stocks or bonds. With Fidelity Digital Assets, we’re building a scalable infrastructure for digital assets that meets the expectations of what it means to work with Fidelity, while leveraging unique capabilities of the blockchain to create a completely new offering,” concluded Jessop.
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Bitcoin Jumps While Tether Falters
Bitcoin’s price touched just below the $7,000 price mark on Monday after cryptocurrency traders sold off tether, a digital currency tied to the valuation of the U.S. dollar, before settling to its current price of $6,657.81 as of 12:15 p.m. ET.