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

Amid Brexit Uncertainties, Coinbase Announces a New Dublin Office

Coinbase has announced the opening of a new office in Dublin. The decision to move shop to the famed Irish city may be part of a plan to hedge Brexit uncertainty by expanding the company’s presence across Europe.


San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase continues to expand its presence across Europe. October 15th the company said on are opening a new office in Dublin Ireland after considering a number of locales across the European Union.

Coinbase made the announcement through a Tweet and a blog post by Vice President of Operations and Technology, Tina Bhatnagar. According to Bhatnagar, the Dublin office will allow Coinbase to “[…] tap into the city’s diverse talent pool and long-standing support for technological innovation.”

Bhatnagar noted that the exchange is currently hiring for roles in the new office. Team members will be complimenting current Coinbase operations in London, and will also play host to new business-related functions.

As of press time, the Coinbase careers page lists a handful of open positions located in Dublin. These include opportunities as Support Analyst, Compliance Manager, and Sr. Product Manager.

Dublin

Hedging Bets In A Post-Brexit World?

Coinbase U.K. CEO Zeeshan Feroz made a point to say the expansion to Ireland was part of a strategy to “better service our customers.” Feroz told CNBC through a phone interview that the European Union was the company’s “most significant market outside the U.S.”

However, some speculate the decision by Coinbase might be part of a plan to offset the ramifications of Brexit by boosting their presence across the European continent.

According to CNBC, Feroz thought the uncertainty surrounding Brexit “played some part in the decision.”

He explained how the company believes Ireland was a good spot for expansion since it is a growing technological hub, home to a range of talent, and an English speaking nation.

Staff Shakeups Continue At Coinbase

The decision by Coinbase to open up a Dublin office and seek out some new talent is another sign the company is looking to increase their clout and even shake up personnel if necessary.

In early September, Bitcoinist reported that the Coinbase had managed to double their staff while hitting their 2018 hiring target.

Earlier in the year, Coinbase opened up an office in Portland, Oregon and hired new workers after coming face to face with a flurry of criticism for not being prepared on the customer service front.

More recently, the company announced the departure of Adam White, Coinbase’s fifth employee. Around the same time, Charles Schwab Board of Directors Member Chris Dodds was introduced as the newest member of the Coinbase Board.

What do you think about Coinbase’s decision to select Dublin as the location for a new office? Let us know in the comments below!


Images and media courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Twitter (@Coinbase).

Over 100,000 ATMs Now Let You Buy Bitcoin With a Debit Card in the U.S.

Debit card Bitcoin purchase via regular ATMs are now a reality in the United States. This development foregrounds the recent partnership between Genmega and LibertyX. The collaboration allows people to buy Bitcoin from numerous cash machines using their debit cards.


Buy Bitcoin Using Debit Cards Via ATM

According to a press release published by Finextra on Monday, October 15, 2018, all Genmega ATMs in the country are now essentially Bitcoin ATMs. Based on the partnership, Genmega ATMs will now offer LibertyX as an added feature. This update makes it possible to make debit card Bitcoin (BTC) 00 purchases from any Genmega cash machine in the U.S.

This development is the first of its kind in the United States. According to Coinatmradar, there are over 2,300 BTC ATMs in the country. With this latest partnership, the over 100,000 Genmega cash machines in the U.S. can now function as BTC ATMs.

Commenting on the partnership, LibertyX co-founder and CEO, Chris Yim, said:

We have been working tirelessly to make it easier to buy cryptocurrencies for the last five years and now are bringing simplicity, convenience and trust to the cryptocurrency purchasing experience through the timeless ATM.

One fundamental benefit of this new arrangement is the simplicity it brings to the BTC purchasing process. Most people familiar with how to work a cash machine should have little problems buying BTC from a regular ATM using this LibertyX interface.

Genmega senior vice president, Wes Dunn, expressed the belief that the new arrangement benefits all stakeholders, saying:

ATM operators are always looking for ways to grow volume and transactions. We are excited to work with LibertyX on this new initiative that will drive additional foot-traffic to merchant locations and provide added revenue to our operators ‒ ensuring they stay ahead of the market and bring added value to consumers.

The Retail Cryptocurrency Payment Arena Is Expanding

This new development is another example of the rapidly expanding cryptocurrency payment arena. Albeit a BTC purchasing avenue, it isn’t that much of a stretch to imagine similar upgrades being made to point-of-sale devices (POS) and other retail money outlets.

Dubai recently partnered with Pundi X to enable residents to pay their bills, school fees, and retail payments via XPOS devices using emCash — the state-backed cryptocurrency. Pundi X also plans to expand the reach of its legacy XPOS devices to other places in the world.

What are your thoughts on ATM debit purchases for Bitcoin? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Genmega, Shutterstock.