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Multinational financial services giant Fidelity Investments is joining the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts (IC3), a research group primarily consisting of academic institutions.

Boston-based Fidelity Labs, the R&D and innovation unit of Fidelity Investments, is underlining its ‘long-term commitment to blockchain technologies’ by becoming the first financial services company to join the IC3.

Launched in 2015 with a $3 million-a-year grant by the National Science Foundation, the initiative comprises of faculty members at Cornell University, Cornell Tech, UC Berkeley, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is based at Cornell Tech in New York City. Fidelity will also join as a regular member alongside existing technology members that include IBM, Intel and blockchain startup Digital Asset. A regular membership costs $150,000 per year.

Fidelity Labs SVP Hadley Stern underlined the potential of digital assets, smart contracts and blockchain applications to “transform” the future of the financial services industry. Further, he outlined plans to work with students and faculty to develop blockchain solutions for Fidelity customers in the future.

He added:


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We will explore a rich spectrum of new financial ideas and business tools that could someday improve the Fidelity customer experience, working alongside some of the best researchers, faculty and students in the space.

As CCN reported in 2015, Fidelity Investments filed an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office to trademark ‘FIDELITYCOIN’, with the application’s scope covering financial exchange services for virtual currency and electronic wallets.

“[W]e are always experimenting with emerging technologies,” a Fidelity press representative told CCN at the time.

Fidelity Charitable, the public charity arm of the financial services company began accepting bitcoin donations the same year and revealed that it had received $7 million in bitcoin donations in 2016.

Revealing further insights of the IC3’s work, co-director Emin Gün Sirer stated:

Expected outcomes of our work include new blockchain and smart contract technologies that are secure, incrementally deployable, and efficient to meet the industry’s needs.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Posted by Samburaj Das