Fidelity launches trade execution and custody for cryptocurrencies


Fidelity has a long history of dealing with enterprise security, as well as public and private key cryptography to make sure it isn’t part of that statistic. Its custody solution will include vaulted “cold storage,” which involves taking the cryptocurrency offline, and multilevel physical and cyber controls, among other security protocols that have been created leveraging Fidelity’s security principles from other parts of the business.

“You might look at the crypto world and say, ‘Wow, is this a new thing?’ but we’ve been managing key materials for a long time,” Jessop said. “We took our learnings in how to run enterprise security, then through our exploration of bitcoin and some of the people we’ve hired, quickly developed some of the crypto native expertise and federated the two of those things.”

Despite a slump in prices and news of hacks and fraud, acceptance among institutions for cryptocurrency is growing.

Yale’s well-known chief investment officer, David Swensen, who manages the school’s $29.4 billion endowment, has invested in two funds dedicated to cryptocurrencies, sources told CNBC. Other endowments — for Harvard University, Stanford University, Dartmouth College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of North Carolina — have also reportedly made allocations in at least one cryptocurrency fund, The Information reported.

The move by Fidelity may encourage more to do so.

In addition to storing cryptocurrencies, Fidelity Digital Assets will use an existing internal crossing engine and smart order router for trade execution. This order router will allow Fidelity institutional customers to execute trades for bitcoin, ether and other assets at multiple market venues. While Jessop didn’t say which ones, he said cryptocurrency exchanges have to comply with the same “Fidelity standard” applied in other parts of the business.

“We have a pretty extensive onboarding procedure for these types of counterparties, which involves diligence on their financial strength as well as their regulatory procedures like ‘know your customer’ and anti-money laundering,” he said. “We are certainly only going to connect to those counterparties that we feel good about.”

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