Fidelity Investments, one of the world’s largest asset managers, is breaking into bitcoin custody.
According to a recent report from Bloomberg, three people “with knowledge on the matter” from firms in contact with Fidelity have said that the company is tentatively planning to launch a custody service for bitcoin in March.
This move would fall in line with the company’s recent pushes toward the crypto space. Last October, Fidelity announced the creation of a platform for institutional traders to invest in cryptocurrencies, using over-the-counter trading and cold storage to ensure the security of the various assets.
As the first quarter of the 2019 fiscal year is well underway, Fidelity is making moves to turn this proposal into reality. These sources claim that bitcoin will naturally be the first crypto asset offered on the platform, though “ether custody is expected to be next.”
Fidelity did comment directly on the imminent plans for this custody service, although they made no guarantees of the projected launch date. “We are currently serving a select set of eligible clients as we continue to build our initial solutions,” they said. “Over the next several months, we will thoughtfully engage with and prioritize prospective clients based on needs, jurisdiction and other factors.”
Custody is a commonplace service in the world of markets but is significantly less common in the crypto asset investment space at the institutional level. Relying on third-party actors to protect securities from the risk of theft or fraud, most crypto custody takes place within the realm of startups. With the recent announcement that New York state will condone crypto custody, however, many financial banks are looking to get in on the action.
An institutional custody service from a titanic asset manager like Fidelity, which deals with trillions of dollars of properties, could give a boost to bitcoin’s slow progress with Wall Street.