The U.S.-based investment firm, Fidelity Investments, is set to launch its Bitcoin (BTC) custody service in March 2019, according to an exclusive report from Bloomberg’s insider sources.
What’s Custody? And What Does It Mean For Crypto & Bitcoin?
For those not in the loop, a custody service sees a financial institution offer to hold and safeguard a client’s assets, preventing objects of financial importance from being lost or stolen. Common examples of custodied assets include money and precious metals, namely gold. Unlike a regular bank, institutions that offer custodian services can’t use the deposited funds or assets to make investments. Instead, custodians find it economically logical to charge a nominal fee for their essential services.
In October of last year, the Boston-based corporation in question, Fidelity, which recently celebrated its 72nd birthday, announced that they had established a new crypto-centric arm of their business, fittingly-named Fidelity Digital Asset Service. The initiative was said to facilitate trade execution and custody services, with the goal of making “digitally native assets, such as Bitcoin, more accessible to investors.”
The service, which is slated to launch shortly, will first be limited to utilization by institutional investors, such as hedge funds, and won’t’ be available to retail investors from the get-go.
In a recent statement, the Wall Street heavyweight stated that it is:
“Currently serving a select set of eligible clients as we continue to build our initial solutions. Over the next several months, we will thoughtfully engage with and prioritize prospective clients based on needs, jurisdiction and other factors.”
The incumbent CEO and chairman of Fidelity, Abigail Johnson, has been cited as a huge proponent of cryptocurrencies. At a recent conference in New York — the heart of global finance — Johnson exclaimed that she is “one of the few standing before you today from a large financial services company that has not given up on digital currencies.”
The company appears to have championed the adoption of digital currencies for time. A few years ago, the firm sneakily introduced Bitcoin and Ethereum mining to their operations, allowing them to experiment with the revolutionary technology and assess how it could be applied to the investment landscape.
Although the release date of Fidelity’s Bitcoin custody service will mark a huge achievement for both the firm and digital asset world at large, other comparable services have already been established within the cryptocurrency sector.
The U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange giant, Coinbase, launched its digital asset custody service in the summer of 2018. At the time of writing, the San Francisco-headquartered exchange is holding over $180 million worth of digital assets for its institutional clientele.
Catalyst For Adoption?
These developments made by Fidelity within the digital asset space is prompting me to question what the multinational corporation will reveal next. With 2019 already set to be an impactful year for the crypto sector, could a string of new investment products and services released by Fidelity act as significant catalysts for crypto adoption?
Many crypto market spectators are expecting to witness upcoming events, such as Nasdaq’s plans to issue Bitcoin-linked futures, to act as catalysts for the mass adoption of digital assets.
As reported last week by Live Coin Watch, crypto adoption appears to be right around the corner. The tech giant, Samsung, is set to release its latest mobile device, the Galaxy S10, which is said to include a native Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash wallet.