Reports say Fidelity Investments is preparing to launch its own cryptocurrency exchange.

By Daniel Herborn

Posted on June 7, 2018

Fidelity Investments currently manages some US$2.45 trillion of assets and is reportedly searching for developers to build the exchange.

Business Insider has obtained an internal document which informs employees the firm is seeking a DevOps System Engineer “to help engineer, create and deploy a digital asset exchange to both a public and private cloud”.

Fidelity is also recruiting staff to implement “first-in-class custodian services for Bitcoin and other digital currencies.” These roles would sit in the Fidelity Digital Asset Service division.

The company has also posted a job advertisement for a Senior Software Engineer. It is seeking someone to “write Bitcoin scripts and Ethereum smart contracts”. The posting says the ideal candidate would “have an adversarial mindset (and) be just as good at breaking code as creating it”.

Fidelity already allows its clients to link their Coinbase accounts to traditional assets in their portfolios. When the planned exchange is implemented, Fidelity will be able to directly hold cryptocurrency for its clientele.

The firm is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts and offers wealth management, brokerage and financial planning services.

Fidelity led by a cryptocurrency believer

Back in May 2017, Fidelity CEO Abigail Johnson told a blockchain-themed conference that she saw huge potential in cryptocurrency.

“I’m a believer,” she said. “I’m one of the few standing before you today from a large financial services company that has not given up on digital currencies.”

Fidelity was already undertaking Bitcoin and Ethereum mining at that point and Johnson said the firm was exploring other Bitcoin-related projects. She added that she believed Bitcoin and other similar digital currencies had the potential to “fundamentally change market structures and perhaps even the architecture of the internet itself”.

Within the firm, cryptocurrency enthusiasts were known as ‘Bitcoin vikings’, for their swashbuckling spirit.

Cryptocurrency entering the mainstream?

Cryptocurrency was once the realm of hackers and outsiders but there are signs it is gaining credibility and support within the mainstream financial world.

Fidelity is not the only traditional asset management firm to move into cryptocurrency. Susquehanna International Group has established a trading desk that buys and sells cryptocurrencies. The firm recently opened trading to a select group of 500 clients, with plans to offer the service more widely at a later date.

The New York Times also revealed that Intercontinental Exchange (owner of the New York Stock Exchange) has been planning an online trading platform that would facilitate the buying and selling of Bitcoins.

Giant investment bank Goldman Sachs is also working towards a cryptocurrency market. While it is not proposing to buy and sell Bitcoins at first, it would trade Bitcoin futures.

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