Fidelity Starts Institutional Bitcoin Trading Worlwide (#GotBitcoin?)
United States $7 trillion investment firm Fidelity will reportedly roll out bitcoin (BTC) trading for institutional clients in the coming weeks, Bloomberg reported on May 6. Fidelity Starts Institutional Bitcoin Trading Worlwide (#GotBitcoin?)
Citing a source who asked to remain anonymous, the publication revealed Fidelity’s cryptocurrency-focused spin-off, Fidelity Digital Assets, would be adding to the existing range of services.
The subsidiary launched in October 2018 and has offered cryptocurrency custody from March this year ahead of planned over-the-counter (OTC) trading.
Now, the trading side will go live for Fidelity’s users in as little as several weeks, the source said, and will primarily target large-volume traders like other OTC offerings.
While Fidelity itself did not confirm the time frame, the company hinted that its future direction would only involve more integration with the bitcoin space.
“We currently have a select set of clients we’re supporting on our platform,” spokeswoman Arlene Roberts told Bloomberg. She added:
“We will continue to roll out our services over the coming weeks and months based on our clients’ needs, jurisdictions, and other factors. Currently, our service offering is focused on Bitcoin.”
The report comes on the back of a survey Fidelity conducted last week that revealed consistent appetite for bitcoin among its target market.
Specifically, 22% of the over 400 institutional investors who responded said they already owned the cryptocurrency as part of their portfolio. Almost half were sympathetic to including it.
“More institutional investors are engaging with digital assets, either directly or through service providers, as the potential impact of blockchain technology on financial markets — new and old — becomes more readily apparent,” Fidelity Digital Assets president Tom Jessop commented in an accompanying press release.
Fidelity’s Crypto Branch Files For A New York Trust License: Report
Fidelity’s crypto arm Fidelity Digital Assets Services (FDAS) has applied for a license to operate as a trust in New York State.
FDAS has filed an application with the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) for a trust license, crypto media outlet The Block reported on July 20, citing several unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
If the license is approved, FDAS will officially be allowed to offer its crypto custodial services in the state of New York, operating as a Limited Purpose Trust Company, the report notes.
In the report, lawyer Arthur Long said that the trust license is broader than BitLicense, NYDFS’ typical crypto license, enabling its bearer to operate more financial services such as financial advice. Fidelity has not confirmed the news to The Block as of press time.
In April, FDAS hired Christine Sandler, former executive of popular American exchange and wallet service Coinbase, as head of Sales and Marketing. Sandler joined the firm to lead institutional customers service and was reportedly based in New York. In mid-May, Cointelegraph reported that FDAS was working to expand its blockchain engineering team.
Recently, Reuters reported that social media giant Facebook applied with the NYDFS to acquire a cryptocurrency business license to operate its planned stablecoin Libra in New York.
Fidelity To Expand Institutional Crypto Business To Europe
Fidelity Investments, one of the world’s largest asset managers, is setting up a new entity to serve European institutional investors in digital assets.
The firm said Tuesday that the new business will be provided through Fidelity Digital Asset Services (FDAS), its New York state-chartered limited liability trust company. Launched in 2018, FDAS already offers custody and trade execution services services to U.S.-based institutional investors.
It will now also provide European digital assets investors such as hedge funds, family offices and market intermediaries with these services, Fidelity said in press release shared with CoinDesk.
The firm has appointed Chris Tyrer as the head of FDAS in Europe. Tyrer previously worked as a managing director at Barclays Investment Bank. leading its digital asset project. He’s also served as global head of commodities trading for the bank following a long career in the traditional financial markets. In the new role. Tyrer will lead client service activity in the region.
The firm has recently made significant progress in the U.S. FDAS bagged a New York Trust Charter to custody bitcoin for institutions in November and said at the time it would onboard its first client by the end of 2019.
Tom Jessop, president of Fidelity Digital Assets, said the firm has seen “significant interest and engagement” from institutional investors since its U.S. launch a year ago.
“We’re also encouraged by continued corporate and venture investment in market infrastructure companies as well as the entry of traditional exchanges into the digital assets ecosystem,” Jessop said. “These and other market indicators, alongside interest expressed from U.K. and European client prospects, indicate a market with increasing potential which gives us the confidence to expand the digital assets business geographically.”
Fidelity International Invests in Hong Kong Crypto Company BC Group
Fidelity International has acquired a stake in BC Group, the operator of OSL, one of Asia’s largest digital asset platforms for institutions. The company purchased 17 million shares for a 5.6% ownership position.
The purchase was revealed by a Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx) disclosure filed on Feb. 17. The actual transaction occurred on Feb. 12. Fidelity International is reported to have purchased HK$110.5 million ($14.2 million) worth of BC Group shares at a price of HK$6.50 ($0.83) each.
The purchase is part of a $36 million share placement announced by BC Group in January. A related HKEx filing shows that 19 million shares were issued on Feb. 12, making Fidelity International a direct investor into the Hong Kong firm.
Fidelity representatives declined to comment on the news.
BC Group is the operator of two major services: OSL, an institution-focused digital asset platform, and Branding China, a PR and marketing agency.
What Is OSL?
OSL is a digital asset platform providing a variety of services for institutions interested in crypto assets. It offers Software as a Service (SaaS) tools to interface with digital assets, Over the Counter (OTC) brokerage for large clients, custody services and an institutional digital asset exchange.
Commenting on the investment round, BC Group CEO Hugh Madden said:
“The raise represents a new phase of growth for the Group. It allows us to further invest in key areas such as technology and compliance which will be essential as we compete and win in this dynamic environment.”
He emphasized that the digital asset market is “going through a rapid changing of the guard.” Focusing on the regulatory perspective, he added:
“Licensing frameworks in every major jurisdiction are rewarding only the strongest and most professional operators, and these firms will continue to capture market share from unlicensed players.”
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