Financial services behemoth Fidelity Investments has opened access to a wait list for its bitcoin trading offering, according to its website. Users can express interest in the product, offered by its subsidiary Fidelity Digital Assets, by signing up on the firm’s web page. The product will waive commission fees, an attempt to compete with popular cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance that have recently launched zero-fee trading. Fidelity, however, will charge a 1% spread fee.
Fidelity has for the past year taken longer strides on the cryptocurrency sector. The asset manager, one of the world’s largest with over $4.5 trillion in assets under management as of September 2022, offers institutional products through Fidelity Digital Assets, including a spot bitcoin ETF in Canada, but the firm’s new moves would cater to the retail investor group.
Now, investors get a glimpse of that future as Fidelity opens up the waiting list for the offering. In addition to trading, the asset manager will also offer custody services for customers’ bitcoin holdings as it seeks to capitalize on the learning curve involved in self-custody.
While U.S. citizens might find it convenient to invest in bitcoin through Fidelity’s offering, the inability to withdraw funds to a self-custodial wallet might push some investors away. As a digital native peer-to-peer currency system, Bitcoin’s true value proposition is only achievable through proper self-custody, which enables independence and freedom. In any case, Fidelity’s offering surely has a market to target — and a growing one — as many in America start getting curious about and demanding some exposure to BTC.
Historically, users have for the most part leveraged cryptocurrency-specific exchanges for their bitcoin buys. However, banks and other financial institutions have grown in awareness as they saw millions if not billions of U.S. dollars flying out of customers’ checking accounts and into the likes of Coinbase and Gemini. In a bid to capture some of that capital, some traditional finance firms have quickly pivoted to launch bitcoin investing products of their own.
In addition to Fidelity, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, also recently dipped its toes into the Bitcoin market. BlackRock’s plans were first heard of in February 2022, but it wouldn’t be until August that the $10 trillion AUM firm would launch its bitcoin trading product. BlackRock also launched a spot bitcoin private trust in that same month.
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