Boston, Massachusetts-based, $6.9 trillion asset manager and financial services company, Fidelity Investments, is close to entering the cryptocurrency space, with an announcement from the firm expected “by the end of the year,” if recent comments from Fidelity’s CEO holds true.
Fidelity Investments CEO Reveals Work on Crypto Products, Announcement Coming
While speaking during last week’s annual Boston FinTech Week, Fidelity Investments CEO Abigail Johnson revealed that the well-known finance firm had some cryptocurrency-related projects underway, that could be revealed by the year’s end.
“We’ve got a few things underway, a few things that are partially done but also kind of on the shelf because it’s not really the right time,” Johnson said, while speaking to prominent fintech thought leader Sarah Biller. “We hope to have some things to announce by the end of the year,” she added, stopping short at providing further details on the plan, or which employees or departments at Fidelity have a hand in the project or projects.
Fidelity Investments joins Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and many other major players in the finance space in making preparations to enter the cryptocurrency market in a big way. The space is currently dominated Coinbase, Gemini, and a few others. These crypto-centric firms have primarily catered to retail investors, but have since begun targeting institutional investors with recent product launches, likely in a move to preemptively beat traditional investment firms to the proverbial punch.
Institutional investors – often cited as the catalyst that ignites the next cryptocurrency market bull run – are leery to enter the space due to the risks and unfamiliarity involved with an emerging technology and asset class. Investing through tried-and-true traditional investment firms like Fidelity will offer an added layer of trust, comfort, and familiarity for institutional money that cannot be ignored.
Fidelity’s Other Forays into the World of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies
While the products Johnson mentioned would be a first for the company in terms of them offering ways for their customers to invest in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, Fidelity has experimented with cryptocurrencies in the past.
Fidelity’s independent public charity arm began allowing donors to donate to nonprofit organizations using Bitcoin as far back as 2015. During the 2017 bull market, over $69 million worth of Bitcoin was donated – ten times as much as the previous year – as investors with new found wealth turned to philanthropy in an effort to spread their wealth in a positive way.
“It worked out because there were so many people, newly incredibly wealthy through Bitcoin, who were looking to become philanthropists. We made it really easy for them,” Johnson explained.
Fidelity also offers clients a way to track their cryptocurrency investments in their Fidelity portfolio as part of a partnership with San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase that began in 2017.
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