Fidelity Investments, a pioneer among traditional finance firms in the cryptocurrency space, is now considering letting its brokerage platform users trade Bitcoin, according to news reports.
The company is working on opening crypto trading to its more than 34.4 million brokerage accounts, people familiar with the matter tell The Wall Street Journal.
In June, reports emerged that Fidelity and Charles Schwab partnered with market maker firms Citadel Securities and Virtu Financial to develop a trading platform for cryptocurrencies that could launch by the end of 2022.
Fidelity has been ahead of its peers in adopting digital assets into its business, starting with crypto mining in 2014. In 2018, the company launched the Fidelity Digital Assets custody and trading service. And in April this year, Fidelity announced two new thematic exchange-traded funds, the Fidelity Metaverse ETF and the Fidelity Crypto Industry and Digital Payments ETF. The same month, the firm said employers using its platform for administering retirement plans could allow 401(k) savers to invest in Bitcoin.
On Monday, Mike Novogratz, chief financial officer of Galaxy Holdings — and one of Fidelity’s first crypto clients — hinted that Fidelity could be getting close to allowing Bitcoin trading by retail investors, according to the Journal.
“A bird told me that Fidelity, a little bird in my ear, is going to shift their retail customers into crypto soon enough,” Novogratz said during a speech at the SALT Conference, according to the publication. “I hope that bird is right. And so we are seeing this institutional march.”
Fidelity hasn’t announced any such plans to its clients, the Journal writes.
Letting brokerage customers trade crypto is likely to attract attention from regulators and lawmakers, according to the Journal.
The company’s announcement that it would let 401(k) savers invest in Bitcoin prompted the Department of Labor to warn that it has “grave concerns” over the move, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., expressed concern about potential conflicts of interest.