Fidelity Digital Assets, a new company created by the investing giant, quietly went live with its cryptocurrency custody and trade execution operations, despite an ongoing crypto bear market. Throughout the past few months, the company has been up and running with institutional investors including hedge funds and family offices, according to its top executive.
According to Tom Jessop, head of Fidelity Digital Assets, the decline in cryptocurrency prices over the last year “haven’t had an impact.” He continued stating, “If you started a crypto fund at the height of the market you’re probably hurting right now.”
Thousands of other digital coins, such as Bitcoin, created a buying frenzy amongst retail investors in late 2017. However, the world’s largest cryptocurrency dropped more than 80 percent since its high of almost $20,000 at the end of 2017.
Despite the decline, Jessop says there’s long-term interest from institutional investors to add cryptocurrency to their portfolios. While CNBC reports its “often seen as an uncorrelated risk,” others view it as a trading opportunity given the sector’s volatility. To find the level of this interest, Fidelity commissioned research.
The firm interviewed roughly 450 institutions, ranging from wealthy families to hedge funds, pensions and endowments. Nearly 22 percent of those respondents already own cryptocurrency and expect to double their allocation over five years, according to the findings.
“If anything, they are as encouraged now as they were when prices were higher,” Jessop said.
Fidelity Digital Assets will execute trades on several exchanges for professional investors. In addition, it will handle custody of digital assets, keeping it protected. Jessop says while the company is live, there are still certain aspects that are a work in progress. Fidelity is working on expanding the jurisdictional coverage of where it can do business.
It’s fair to note that its offerings are not based on one-size-fits-all. Some customers began using the platform back in January, while other customers just started in March. Some may even wait until September, Jessop said.
“It really depends on the facts and circumstances of each client,” he said. “At some point, there will be an attractive entry point. But by the same token people don’t want to be early even if we’re well off the highs.”