Fidelity, one of the leading global financial services players, plans to launch a cryptocurrency and blockchain-related products by the end of 2018, Abigail Johnson, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the company said during the Boston Fintech Conference last week, xConomy reported on Friday.
Johnson was part of the so-called “fireside chat,” moderated by Sarah Biller, co-founder of FinTech Sandbox, a Boston-based non-governmental organization that helps startups. Asked about more details regarding information that Fidelity employees are working on virtual coin and distributed ledger technology (DLT) offerings, Johnson explained that some of the products have already been developed.
“We’ve got a few things underway, a few things that are partially done but also kind of on the shelf because it’s not really the right time,” Johnson told Biller as quoted by xConomy. “We hope to have some things to announce by the end of the year.”
Fidelity, which managed more than $2.4 trillion in assets in 2017, approaches every emerging technology, including cryptocurrency and blockchain without bias and prejudice, CEO told attendees in Boston.
“What we started with was building a long list of use cases for either Bitcoin, Ethereum, other cryptocurrencies, or potentially just raw blockchain technology,” Johnson said.
“Most of them have been scrapped by now or at least put on the shelf. The things that actually survived were not the things I think necessarily we expected. We were trying to listen to the marketplace and anticipate what would make sense.”
Currently, the Fidelity clients are not allowed to invest in digital coins directly but only can add their Coinbase wallet to their Fidelity account. However, Fidelity Charitable, the corporation donor-advised fund, accepts crypto donations and last year these contributions surged ten times in 2016 to $69 million in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the charity reported.
“That was a surprising hit,” Johnson stated about the virtual coin donation results during the Boston Conference chat with Biller.
“It worked out because there were so many people, newly incredibly wealthy through Bitcoin, who were looking to become philanthropists. We made it really easy for them.”
In September last year, Johnson revealed that Fidelity had started mining cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) for educational purposes, but the project became profitable activity as it “making a lot of money.”