Back in May, as reported by CCN, Fidelity Investments announced that it would allow its clients to see their bitcoin and ethereum holdings held on cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase. At the time, the company’s CEO Abigail Johnson said that Fidelity was testing Coinbase integration with its employees, and that the service would be introduced in the second or third quarter of 2017.
The goal, according to Abigail Johnson, is to learn more about digital currencies, a rare move from a financial institution, as these tend to shy away from digital currencies as the sector remains largely unregulated.
Hadley Stern, senior vice president and managing director at the company’s innovation united Fidelity Labs, stated:
This is an experiment in the spirit of learning what these crypto assets are like and how our customers may want to interact with them.
Fidelity Investments has been taking an open approach to the digital currency space, unlike most financial institutions. Back in April, it was reported that the Boston-based organization joined the Initiate for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts (IC3), a research group mainly consisting of academic establishments.
According to Stern, bitcoin’s recent price surge isn’t a driving force behind the initiative, as the integration is part of Fidelity’s efforts to understand and invest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
At the blockchain conference Consensus in New York City, Johnson also made it clear that she was interested in the digital currency space. She stated:
I love this stuff – bitcoin, ethereum, blockchain technology – and what the future holds.
At the time, Johnson revealed that Fidelity was testing bitcoin internally, allowing its employees to use the cryptocurrency in its cafeteria. Less than 100 employees bought anything using the cryptocurrency, but according to Johnson this didn’t discourage her, although it highlighted the technology’s flaws as a means of payment.
In 2015, CCN reported that Fidelity filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark FIDELITYCOIN, which according to the application covers financial exchange services for digital currencies and digital wallets.
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