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Fidelity launches new cryptocurrency trading platform for institutional investors

Tue, 16 Oct 2018, 11:51 am UTC

Financial services giant Fidelity Investments has announced the launch of a new company that will provide enterprise-grade digital asset solutions for institutional investors.

Called “Fidelity Digital Assets,” the new company will offer enterprise-quality custody and trade execution services for cryptocurrencies to sophisticated institutional investors such as hedge funds, family offices, and market intermediaries.

Fidelity Digital Assets, which started in Fidelity’s Blockchain Incubator at Fidelity, has now graduated from this group to become a stand-alone business, the release said.

Last month, Chairman and CEO of Fidelity Investments Abigail Johnson had hinted on some upcoming blockchain and crypto-related announcements. Commenting on the launch of the new company, she said that the goal is to make “digitally-native assets, such as bitcoin, more accessible to investors.”

“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,” Johnson said.

The company’s first foray into cryptocurrencies dates back to 2013 when it began researching digital assets in its Blockchain Incubator. Since then, Fidelity has experimented with mining, enabled its customers to see their digital asset balances at Coinbase on Fidelity.com, started accepting bitcoin donations, and has collaborated extensively with others committed to furthering this space.

“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.”

Jessop said institutions underscored the need for a trusted platform provider for them to enter the crypto space in a meaningful way.

“These institutions require a sophisticated level of service and security, equal to the experience they’re used to when trading stocks or bonds,” he said. “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."

In its official release, Fidelity emphasized on the potential of distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) saying that the technology can enable entirely new business models, lead to the creation of frictionless capital markets and improve existing financial market infrastructure. It said that it can envision a world where all types of assets are issued natively on a blockchain or represented in tokenized format.

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