Fidelity Just Removed ‘Huge Obstacle’ to Investing in Cryptocurrencies

Here is why the cryptocurrency space was largely “impressed” by Fidelity Investments announcing it will offer its 27 million customers a way to store and trade digital currencies. 


Fidelity Unveils ‘Fidelity Digital Assets’

Currently, Fidelity manages $7.2 trillion dollars, making it the fourth largest asset manager in the world. It is the leader in the United States when it comes to 401(k) retirement savings plans, and is one of the largest 403(b) retirement plan providers for not-for-profit institutions.

Abigail Johnson, Fidelity Investments CEO

Fidelity has indeed kept a close eye on the Bitcoin space over the past years. Bitcoinist reported that the firm was one of the first to add Bitcoin price 00 to its website over a year ago. It then started looking to hire crypto-fund managers. In September, CEO Abigail Johnson revealed that crypto products were underway.

Johnson didn’t disappoint. Fidelity Investments has just unveiled an entire company called Fidelity Digital Assets to focus strictly on cryptocurrency investment. One of the first crypto custody clients has been revealed to be none other than Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital fund.

Paying Homage to Bitcoin Pioneers

What’s more, the cryptocurrency space was also impressed by Fidelity’s knowledge of Bitcoin’s beginnings, paying tribute to Bitcoin’s pioneers in its announcement Monday, in which it referred to cryptocurrencies as “the evolution of digital cash.”

“Impressed to see Fidelity, a financial institution of worldwide renown, appropriately pay homage to the foundational work by David Chaum, Adam Back, Wei Dai, Nick Szabo, and Hal Finney,” said Bitcoin economist, Tuur Demeester. “Shows maturity and serious commitment to the Bitcoin project.”

Nic Carter

“How’s that for infrastructure?” commentator Nic Carter rhetorically asked, pointing out that the Bitcoin network is by far the most mature crypto-asset today – so much that even incumbent banks are now entering the fray.

“…Fidelity is doing it right: a nod to the cypherpunks and predecessors to Bitcoin,” he noted.

“Abby is my favorite CEO in banking,” added Abra CEO Bill Barhydt on Twitter, praising the executive for not being afraid to be one of the first people to try Bitcoin hands-on as early as 2015.

She was mining bitcoin before other ceo’s knew what bitcoin was.

‘Removes a Huge Obstacle’

With 27 million customers, Fidelity is by no means small fish. In fact, Shapeshift CEO, Erik Voorhees, points out that there won’t be a whole bitcoin for each brokerage customer as there is less than 21 million bitcoin in existence.

“It would be impossible for every Fidelity brokerage customer to own even one Bitcoin,” he wrote. “This is why Bitcoins are worth thousands of dollars, while a dollar is only worth one dollar (and only until next year when it’s worth 97 cents). Save wisely.”
Hunter Horsley, CEO of Bitwise Asset Management, meanwhile shared his thoughts with Bitcoinist, calling this an important moment in history for this “new asset class.” He explained:

For many institutional investors, a trusted custodian like Fidelity entering the space removes a huge obstacle to investing in cryptoassets. I think we’ll look back on 2018, and particularly this moment, as the time that crypto became cemented as a new asset class.

Bruce Elliott, President of ICOx Innovations, noted that these new custodial products from ICE’s Bakkt and now Fidelity will add legitimacy to crypto markets and introduce “seasoned investors” to cryptocurrency. He explained:

Nasdaq and Fidelity are two of the most well respected brands in markets and financial services. This is a signal that financial markets and regulators are gaining clarity and comfort on the outlook for trading cryptocurrencies.

Meanwhile, others like Ben Waters, Head of Digital at IOST, remains cautiously optimistic while warning about retrofitting centralized points of failure into decentralized networks.

“Institutions like Fidelity and Nasdaq entering the space can be a good thing for crypto, as long as the exploitative financial systems (e.g. fractional reserve banking, commingling, etc.) are not piggybacked into the crypto space,” he said. “Historically, the legacy financial system has been used to exploit the general public — making the rich get richer and creating centralized points of failure.”

Akbar Thobhani

Akbar Thobhani, CEO of SFOX, a crypto prime dealer that just raised $22M to build an institutional crypto asset management platform, added:

Nasdaq and Fidelity’s recent announcements prove that cryptocurrency will not be going anywhere anytime soon…Fidelity Digital Asset Services’ focus on cryptocurrency custody and trading services for enterprise clients showcases the commitment and interest they’re seeing from their clients, but we’ll really hit a turning point when Fidelity offers cryptocurrency to their retail and 401K customers.

Meanwhile, Andy Bromberg, president of CoinList sees this as just the latest vote of confidence in digital assets.

“We expect these moves to further increase the confidence of regulators and help drive the law forward,” he added.

Finally, Rahul Sood, CEO of Unikrn, a leading voice in applied crypto at the merger of blockchain, esports, and wagering, thinks that traditional finance as a whole will follow to experience a boom similar to that of the Internet and e-business.

“Crypto is going to break the status quo in fintech, including securities. Fidelity and Nasdaq will not be alone. Soon, asset managers will look at blockchain the way banking looks at the Internet: do or die.”

What are your thoughts on Fidelity entering the crypto space? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

News

Fifty traders who use Indian crypto exchange Instashift have shared their thoughts on the current crypto environment in India. Most of them said that they “hodl” and would continue to invest in crypto despite regulatory uncertainty.

Also read: RBI Argues Supreme Court Should Not Interfere With Its Crypto Decision

Most Respondents Are Hodlers

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in IndiaA survey was conducted in the first week of October by Indian cryptocurrency exchange Instashift exclusively for news.Bitcoin.com. Launched in March, Instashift offers the buying and selling of over 80 cryptocurrencies.

Fifty active traders in India participated. The goal of the survey was to find out what they think about various crypto-related issues including their investment concerns, the crypto banking ban by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and whether they will keep investing in crypto despite regulatory uncertainty.

Among the 50 traders who responded, 43 said that they hodl while seven revealed that they invest short-term.

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

Furthermore, 40 traders believe bitcoin is a safe haven against rupee inflation while 10 traders disagree.

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

Crypto Investing Despite RBI Ban

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in IndiaIndia is currently drafting crypto regulations which were supposed to be ready in September but have been delayed. Meanwhile, RBI, the country’s central bank, has banned financial institutions under its jurisdiction from providing services to crypto businesses. A number of petitions have been filed against the ban. The country’s supreme court has been trying to hear them since Sept. 11, but the hearing has continually been postponed.

The banking ban by the central bank has adversely impacted some exchanges. One of the country’s largest crypto trading platforms, Zebpay, recently shut down its exchange operations due to the banking problem.

Despite the ban, 32 Instashift traders said that they would continue to invest in crypto even if the RBI intensifies its crackdown such as freezing crypto accounts. Another 12 traders noted that they are also likely to continue trading while six respondents said they would discontinue crypto trading.

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

In addition, 36 traders believe that the Indian government will amend existing laws to accommodate cryptocurrencies. Ten respondents believe that the regulators will remove restrictions on crypto. However, only four traders believe that crypto will be legalized and regulated in India.

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

Preferred Cash-Out Methods

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in IndiaA number of crypto exchanges in India have come up with their own solutions to the RBI ban. Some have introduced exchange-escrowed peer-to-peer trading services, which they claim have gained much popularity.

Respondents were asked about their preferred methods of cashing out cryptocurrencies into rupees. Forty-eight traders said they prefer to cash out using peer-to-peer sites. Five traders prefer to use local cash deals, four prefer to use gift cards and online deals, and four others prefer to cash out using prepaid crypto Visa and Mastercard services.

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

On Sunday, another cash-out method was introduced by one of India’s largest crypto exchanges, Unocoin. The company has launched crypto ATMs to bypass the RBI ban and allow its users to deposit and withdraw rupees. This option was announced after the Instashift survey had concluded, so it was not included in the survey.

As for where to keep their funds, 24 traders prefer to keep them in BTC, 14 prefer altcoins, and 12 specifically prefer stablecoins. Recently, an increasing number of crypto exchanges in India have started listing stablecoins such as tether (USDT) and trueusd (TUSD).

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

Future Prospects of Crypto Ecosystem in India

Amid the banking ban, 35 respondents believe that the fear of regulatory uncertainty is the biggest hurdle stopping the Indian crypto economy from flourishing. Twenty-six traders believe that the lack of banking support is the biggest challenge. Twenty-five traders put the lack of understanding of the crypto industry as the most important factor, while 18 traders attributed the lack of liquidity in the market as the top reason.

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

Despite all the hurdles, 41 traders said that they are long-term investors and will continue to invest in crypto. Seventeen traders admitted that they are apprehensive but expect the government to eventually create a positive environment for cryptocurrencies. However, four respondents are entertaining the idea of exiting the crypto space altogether.

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

What do you think of the current crypto environment in India? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Instashift.


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Binance Opens Fiat-To-Crypto Exchange in Uganda

Binance Opens Its First Fiat-To-Crypto Exchange in Uganda

Exchanges

On Oct. 15, Binance announced the launch of its fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchange in Uganda. The world’s biggest digital currency exchange said users in the East African country are now able to complete full account verification starting immediately. Deposits and withdrawals of the local fiat currency, the Ugandan shilling, start on Wednesday.

Also read: Bitcoin After Death: The Perils of Sharing One’s Fortune

Exchange to Initially Support Trades Between Ugandan Shilling and BTC, ETH Only

“We are extremely proud to officially launch our first fiat-crypto exchange in Uganda,” said Wei Zhou, chief financial officer at Binance, in a press statement. “We have been diligently preparing for this exchange with our local partners since our team first visited Uganda in April 2018.”

Zhou also stated that: “This is only the first step in our efforts to use blockchain technology to support sustainable economic development in Africa, and we look forward to bringing more innovations to the region.”

The exchange will initially support trading of the local shilling unit with bitcoin core (BTC) and ethereum (ETH), Binance said. More trading pairs are to be added in the coming months, it detailed, adding that “users are exempt from trading fees during the first month.” The Ugandan subsidiary is capable of processing 1.4 million transactions per second, with 24-hour client support.

Binance is the world’s biggest digital currency exchange, with 24-hour volume of about $1.97 billion worth of BTC alone, according to data from Coinmarketcap.  The company has revealed plans to open fiat-capable exchanges in Liechtenstein, Malta and Singapore. Until now, the exchange had been optimized for crypto-to-crypto trades only.

In Uganda, cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption and development continue to see growth. That’s despite warnings by the Bank of Uganda against the use of unregulated currencies in the form of bitcoin and other digital coins. The country of 44 million people is home to various blockchain conferences, associations and communities, with support at Cabinet level.

African Investors Welcome Binance’s Ugandan Presence

Investors in Africa have cheered Binance’s move into Uganda. “This is great news!” Michael Kimani, a leading Kenyan crypto proponent, tweeted.

“(It) will spark a race across African countries on setting up [a] favorable environment for cryptocurrency trading against African currencies. Muhimu (vital) for cross border trade, intra-African trade, online payments, remittances, trading, investing…” he wrote.

Binance Opens Its First Fiat-To-Crypto Exchange in Uganda

Binance’s presence in the East African nation is expected to boost financial inclusion in a country where only 33 percent of citizens use registered financial accounts. But this is a place where bitcoin looks likely to flourish unhindered. Some shops and restaurants in Kampala – Uganda’s capital – now accept bitcoin as a means of payment.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has spoken positively about blockchain technology – but not cryptocurrencies. He told the Africa Blockchain conference organised by the Blockchain Association of Uganda in Kampala in May of the need “to look for a new technology of enabling things to move faster and new systems that go with it.”

His central bank governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile had apparently spoken to the contrary in an earlier address to the same conference. Mutebile accused blockchain technology of lacking the necessary support to sustain a currency. But Ugandans, mostly professionals, have taken a particular liking to virtual money, bitcoin especially.

What do you think about Binance’s move into Uganda? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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