Fidelity Weighs Bitcoin Trading on Brokerage Platform

18D Ago
Fidelity Investments is weighing a plan to allow individual investors to trade bitcoin on its brokerage platform, people familiar with the matter said, marking the financial giant’s latest foray into cryptocurrencies. Fidelity launched a bitcoin-trading business for hedge funds and other institutional investors in 2018, and earlier this year allowed corporate clients to add the digital asset to the 401(k) retirement plans it manages for them. Now, the Boston firm is working toward bringing crypto to its more than 34.4 million brokerage accounts, the people said. Led by its chief executive, Abigail Johnson, Fidelity was among the first mainstream financial firms to champion digital assets and the technology that underpins them. Ms. Johnson began holding weekly crypto discussions with her lieutenants nearly a decade ago, and in 2015 Fidelity started mining bitcoin. Later, it added a link on retail customers’ accounts to Coinbase, the crypto exchange, to track their holdings. In 2020, it opened its own crypto fund for wealthy customers. When Fidelity opened its 401(k) accounts to bitcoin, industry executives came to believe it was only a matter of time before the firm moved to allow brokerage customers to hold crypto in their accounts. Some of its competitors, including Robinhood Markets Inc., have used access to digital assets as a key selling point for a new generation of investors who had started trading everything from stocks and options to bitcoin in 2020. On Monday, Mike Novogratz, Galaxy Holdings Ltd.’s CEO and one of Fidelity’s first crypto clients, signaled Fidelity would soon join them. “A bird told me that Fidelity, a little bird in my ear, is going to shift their retail customers into crypto soon enough,” Mr. Novogratz said during a speech at the SALT Conference. “I hope that bird is right. And so we are seeing this institutional march.” Fidelity hasn’t shared its plans with its clients yet. Anything Fidelity does to expand crypto’s reach to individual investors is likely to draw scrutiny from Washington. The U.S. Department of Labor has said it was concerned about companies’ decisions to allow its employees to invest in cryptocurrencies through their Fidelity retirement plans. Several U.S. senators have also raised questions about the plan, citing the risks inherent investing savings in such risky assets. [](