Fidelity Investments, one of the global behemoths when it comes to banking and financial sector, currently manages asset worth $2.3 trillion and to top it all, it is considering cryptocurrencies in a long-term view. The company has been trying out internally with bitcoin, but is in the process of now offering some of those features to its large customer base. As reported by Quartz and The Financial Times, Fidelity Investment’s chief executive, Abigail Johnson, provided comprehensive news on the firm’s dedication towards cryptocurrency at Consensus, a bitcoin-based event organised in New York. Johnson informed that their firm had invested in quite a few businesses associated with Bitcoins and they are evaluating real-world applications of blockchain technologies in conjunction with some of the reputed universities. As per Quartz, Fidelity has also developed a minor internal crypto mining operation in the asset manager, which is generating revenue for the company.
One of Fidelity’s projects is mining bitcoin and ethereum, which Johnson said was started for educational purposes, but now turns a tidy profit. “We set up a small bitcoin and ethereum mining operation…that miraculously now is actually making a lot of money,” she said.
The Financial Times writes that the firm had purchased its mining hardware from the 21 Inc. which had recently pivoted its business model. Unlike other biggies from the private sector of finance domain, Johnson takes positive stand for the virtual currencies and has mined close to 200,000 satoshis, as reported by FT.
Apart from the company’s internal operation, it’s also now showing cryptocurrency balances on the official website for customers who have an account with Coinbase — one of the largest trading and storage service vendor in the crypto market across the globe. Currently, Bitcoin is valued at close to $4,200 which is rebounding after multiple jolts from various financial watchdogs (example: China’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies). Fidelity has now become pioneer among the other global companies to speak publicly about internal cryptocurrency business. That said, other companies have also started some form of experimentation with bitcoin, ethereum and other blockchain-based technologies internally.
Interesting to note that J.P. Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon had earlier termed Bitcoin as fake which had negative impact on the coin’s valuation. But, his company’s traders were purchasing shares of an exchange traded fund that traces digital coins. Another notable influencer, James Gorman, the chief executive of Morgan Stanley, considers Bitcoins as “more than just fads”.
The use case of the blockchain-based technologies can be enormous and they certainly go beyond just financial services. However, the anticipation that there will be huge return from Bitcoin investment has be the primary fuel that has been powering the boom in cryptocurrencies in the last two years.