Amid a massive cryptocurrency boom, Fidelity Digital will expand its workforce by 70…

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Amid a massive cryptocurrency boom, Fidelity Digital will expand its workforce by 70…

Amid massive cryptocurrency boom, Fidelity Digital will expand its workforce by 70 percent

Through Matthew Leising Bloomberg,Updated on July 12, 2021, 4:24 PM
A man used an Ethereum ATM next to a Bitcoin ATM in Hong Kong.
A man used an Ethereum ATM next to a Bitcoin ATM in Hong Kong.Kin Cheung/Associated Press

Fidelity Digital Assets plans to increase its workforce by about 70 percent as demand for cryptocurrency services from institutional investors remains strong.

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The unit of Boston-based asset manager Fidelity Investments Inc. plans to add about 100 employees in technology and operations in Dublin, Boston and Salt Lake City, said Tom Jessop, president of Fidelity Digital Assets. They will help the company develop products and expand into cryptocurrencies in addition to bitcoin, he said.

Last year “was a real breakthrough year for the space, given the interest in bitcoin that accelerated as the pandemic began,” Jessop said. Bitcoin hit an all-time high of over $63,000 earlier this year, while other cryptocurrencies, including ether, also soared to record highs before falling about half in recent weeks. Until now, Fidelity Digital only offers custody, trading and other services for bitcoin.

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“We’ve seen more interest in ether so we want to get ahead of that demand,” Jessop said.

Fidelity Digital will also push to offer more of the week’s trading, he said. Crypto trades all day every day, unlike most financial markets, which close in the afternoon and on weekends. “We want to be in a place where it’s full time for most of the week,” he said.

As cryptocurrency and decentralized finance become more accepted, money is flowing into the space to fund startups and new ways of executing traditional financial transactions.

According to data provider PitchBook, venture capital funds have already committed more than $17 billion to blockchain-based projects this year. That is by far the most in a single year and almost equal to the total amount raised in all previous years combined. Fundraising companies include Chainalysis, Blockdaemon, Coin Metrics, Paxos Trust Co., Alchemy, and Digital Asset Holdings LLC.

In addition to holding and trading Bitcoin, Fidelity Digital allows its institutional clients to pledge Bitcoin as collateral against cash loans in a partnership with blockchain startup BlockFi Inc.

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Demand from institutional investors to access Bitcoin, Ether and other digital currencies is only increasing, Jessop said. Fidelity Digital’s first clients were mostly family offices and hedge funds, he said. That is now expanding to pension advisors and companies looking to hold crypto as an asset class.

“Bitcoin has been the entry point for many institutions,” said Jessop. “It really opens a window into what else is happening in space now.” A big shift is in “the diversity of interest” from new and existing customers, he said.

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