Financial services giant Fidelity is taking a huge step into cryptocurrency.
The 72-year-old firm announced the launch of a separate company, Fidelity Digital Asset Services, on Monday that will handle cryptocurrency custody and trade execution for institutional investors.
“Our goal is to make digitally native assets, such as bitcoin, more accessible to investors,” Fidelity Investments Chairman and CEO Abigail Johnson said 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.”
Tom Jessop, head of Fidelity Digital Assets, said the idea of commercializing a standalone crypto company began in the middle of last year.
For now, its services are available to institutions such as hedge funds, endowments and family offices but not to the retail investor.
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“We saw that there were certain things institutions needed that only a firm like Fidelity could provide,” Jessop told CNBC, adding that it already works with 13,000 institutional clients. “We’ve got some technology that we’ve repurposed from other parts of Fidelity — we can leverage all of the resources of a big organization.”