Fidelity Investments announced that it will soon allow its clients to see their holdings of bitcoin and other virtual currencies held on digital asset exchange Coinbase on the company’s website.
According to Reuters, this makes the Boston-based asset manager one of a handful of large financial services firms to integrate digital currencies into its website. The initiative is expected to launch in the second or third quarter of this year, with the company testing the integration with its employees first.
“I love this stuff — bitcoin, ethereum, blockchain technology — and what the future holds,” said Chief Executive Abigail Johnson.
While most large financial services firms have steered clear of virtual currencies, Fidelity has openly supported it by investing in blockchain and backing software company Axoni.
“We have built proofs of concepts that accept bitcoin micro-transactions,” Johnson said. “We set up small bitcoin and ethereum mining operations, just done in the spirit of learning.”
The company has been testing bitcoin internally by allowing it in its cafeteria, but Johnson did note that fewer than 100 employees have made purchases using the virtual currencies, and that usability was slowing down adoption.
“If you are looking for bitcoin to beat Visa at the point of sale today, you are going to be disappointed,” Johnson said. “If you are looking at this technology as just a faster settlement system for financial transactions … also disappointing. But I am still a believer — and it’s no accident that I’m one of the few standing before you today from a large financial services firm that hasn’t given up on digital currencies.”