Fidelity Introduces Digital Currencies To Customers

Boston-based financial services company Fidelity will soon allow its customers to view their digital currency holdings via digital asset exchange Coinbase, starting in the second or third quarter of this year. According to Reuters, the announcement was made by Fidelity’s CEO, Abigail Johnson, at the Consensus blockchain conference held in New York City on Tuesday, where Johnson exclaimed:

"I love this stuff – bitcoin, Ethereum, blockchain technology – and what the future holds."

Reuters reports that Fidelity has been actively experimenting with bitcoin in its cafeteria, though fewer than 100 employees have actually made purchases with it. According to Johnson, this could be due to unfamiliarity with the technology.

"If you are looking for bitcoin to beat Visa at the point of sale today, you are going to be disappointed,” Johnson said. “If you are looking at this technology as just a faster settlement system for financial transactions ... also disappointing."

In the early half of 2017, a few cryptocurrencies have experienced a significant rise in market caps – specifically bitcoin, Ether, and Ripple. However, despite their acceptance of the underlying blockchain technology, distinguished regulators and financial firms in the US have diverged from implementing cryptocurrencies in their daily business dealings.

Nevertheless, Fidelity is one of the few US financial firms that are proactively participating in the cryptocurrency craze. 

"We have built proofs of concepts that accept bitcoin micro-transactions," Johnson said. "We set up small bitcoin and Ethereum mining operations, just done in the spirit of learning."

Yet, despite the reluctance of the industry to normalize these assets, Johnson is placing full faith into virtual currencies by positioning her company to be one of the first major financial service providers that cater to this ever expanding customer base. As per Johnson:

"I am still a believer – and it's no accident that I'm one of the few standing before you today from a large financial services firm that hasn't given up on digital currencies."