Boston based multinational financial services corporation, Fidelity Investments Inc. has expressed its interest in emerging blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
As of December 2017, Fidelity is the fourth largest asset management company with $2.45 trillion in asset under management. Fidelity Investments was founded in 1946 by Edward C. Johnson II. Fidelity operates a brokerage firm, manage mutual funds, offer investment and fund distribution advice, wealth management, life insurance, retirement services, and securities execution and clearance.
Fidelity Investments has always shown its interest in the latest and revolutionary technologies. In 1960s Fidelity Investments was one of the first financial institutions to use supercomputers. In 1970s Fidelity became one of the first companies to sell investment products through toll-free phone lines.
The founder of Fidelity Investments believes that it is better to take an intelligent risk rather than follow the crowd. Fidelity’s openness to emerging technologies has also given a competitive advantage to the company. Even the infrastructure of Fidelity Investments heavily relied upon the early version of artificial intelligence (AI), to run the Fidelity Money Line answering system in the 1980s the company used voice-activated computers. During 1990, Fidelity Investments developed Fidelity Center for Applied Technology (FCAT), a group which was devoted to testing and researches about the emerging technologies. The group has a sandbox environment so that the employees can test new technologies without the fear of failure or wasting funds.
Now the company is showing interest in Blockchain and cryptocurrency. In a recent event at Fidelity’s Boston headquarters, Edward C. Johnson said that the company is going to release a cryptocurrency product by end of the year. Though the details of the products are still not available Johnson gave some idea by saying “We have 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. We hope to have some things to announce by the end of the year.”
Several years ago Fidelity Investments has taken steps to understand the blockchain and cryptocurrencies. According to the chief executive officer of the company, Abby Johnson a few years ago when the concept of blockchain has just started, the company was curious to know more about the technology. To understand the technology Fidelity launched a small Bitcoin mining operation and acquired Bitcoin at $180. All of the sudden the price of Bitcoin started to rise and the company started to make money though that was not the intention. The charity arm of Fidelity also saw a huge success when they started to accept Bitcoin for donations and rose over $69 million in Bitcoins in 2017. According to Johnson, it worked out because there were so many people who became wealthy because of Bitcoin and were looking for becoming philanthropists. Fidelity made the donations easy for them.