In the nine years since Bitcoin was first created by the mysterious “Satoshi Nakamoto” there have been many enthusiastic supporters and skeptical detractors weighing in on the digital currency. When the attitude towards digital currency in the traditional world of finance trends positive, people who previously had a “wait and see” position begin embracing it.
Last month, Fidelity Investments, one of the world’s largest and most diversified financial services providers with more than $7.2 trillion in client assets, announced their new startup, Fidelity Digital Asset Services LLC (Fidelity Digital Assets), and said initially this new cryptocurrency trading desk will allow money managers, family offices and other institutional clients to trade bitcoin and ethereum, and they intend to expand into additional assets in the future. Last year Fidelity CEO Abigail Johnson announced that the company was mining cryptocurrencies. Fidelity’s recent startup further solidifies their position in the crypto sphere.
Fidelity Digital Assets president Tom Jessop shared, “Our vision is [to provide] institutional brokerage capabilities for family offices, hedge funds and other institutions that are or want to invest in digital assets.” A Fidelity press release reported “Our goal is to make digitally native assets, such as bitcoin, more accessible to investors. We expect to continue investing and experimenting, over the long-term, with ways to make this emerging asset class easier for our clients to understand and use.”
Jessop is predicting that 2019 will be a big year for the blockchain industry and for crypto assets. Citing heightened interest in the cryptocurrency arena among Wall Street players, Jessop said “I think we are starting to see an acceleration… I don’t know what phase (innovator, early-adopter, early majority, etc.) we are in, but I think that with some of these recent announcements – our announcement, Bakkt’s launch, Harvard, Stanford and MIT allocated into this asset class – we are now seen as this interesting and transformative asset class… So, we can expect more news heading into 2019 that raises the bar and helps growth in the [crypto and blockchain] market.”
Jessop was referring to a report published by the technology news site The Information on Oct. 10. Citing an unnamed source, The Information reported that the multi-billion dollar endowments of Harvard University, Stanford University, Dartmouth College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the University of North Carolina had all made investments into at least one cryptocurrency fund. This is “a sign of the asset class’ growing acceptance among institutional investors,” the source said. Shortly after this report, it was reported that Yale University is also a crypto investor. In addition, institutions such as Cambridge University have conducted substantial research into the crypto-finance field, and Swiss university Lucerne now accepts Bitcoin payments for tuition fees.