Fidelity Investments CEO Abigail Johnson has revealed that the company is working on a number of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related products and offerings, with their release tentatively fixed for sometime before the end of the year.
Speaking on Friday at the Boston Fintech Week conference, Johnson declined to go into any specifics regarding what exactly Fidelity is working on in the crypto space, but investors and other market participants are likely to pay close attention to subsequent Fidelity announcements as it continues to build a reputation as one of the most crypto-positive large financial service firms in the world.
Speaking about Fidelity’s plans for moving into the cryptocurrency space, Johnson said:
“We’ve got a few things underway, a few things that are partially done but also kind of on the shelf because it’s not really the right time. We hope to have some things to announce by the end of the year.”
The announcement will come as welcome news to crypto markets, which continue to anticipate the entry of large institutional investment that by and large has not yet taken place. In a market with a total capitalisation still below $300 billion despite a surfeit of publicity and investment sentiment, Fidelity has consistently been one of the few large firms that has repeatedly and openly signaled its interest.
In June, CCN.com reported that the company was rumored to be at work on a crypto exchange. In the same month, the company is said to have expressed interest in a hiring a fund manager to run a new cryptocurrency fund. Neither of these rumors have been confirmed by the company.
After launching in 2015, the company’s public charity organisation Fidelity Charitable also raised nearly $6 million in crypto donations in only the first six months of 2017. According to Johnson, the success of Fidelity Charitable lay in the fact that it gave a new class of wealthy crypto entrepreneurs an easy way to become philanthropists.
Johnson also stated that while the company is still exploring uses for crypto and blockchain technology and modifying many ideas along the way, its goal is to place the needs of the market before the technology.
In her words:
“What we started with was building a long list of use cases for either Bitcoin, Ethereum, other cryptocurrencies, or potentially just raw blockchain technology. Most of them have been scrapped by now or at least put on the shelf. The things that actually survived were not the things I think necessarily we expected. We were trying to listen to the marketplace and anticipate what would make sense.”
Despite the growth of cryptocurrencies and digital currency, the Fidelity CEO still maintained that the company does not expect financial services to be completely taken over by electronic offerings in the future, and that this will inform Fidelity’s decisions going forward.
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