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A 72 Year Old Company Has An Acute Interest In Blockchain And Cryptocurrencies

A 72 Year Old Company Has An Acute Interest In Blockchain And Cryptocurrencies
A 72 year old company that has a huge legacy and manages over $7 trillion in investor’s funds - Fidelity Investments, are extremely open to nascent technologies, such as cryptocurrency and blockchain despite having a strong and well established position in the conventional retail markets.
This openness of the company has created a unique niche for it. This positioning has helped it to be treated as a technology company as well as a well known finance management firm and it is now well set to provide competition to some of the IT giants such as Google and Nvidia.
The mantra of Fidelity’s founder, Edward C. Johnson, was very simple: “it is better to take intelligent risks rather than follow the crowd.”
This technology affinity is however not new to the company. In the 1960s, it was amongst the first companies in the financial sector to make use of super computers and was a pioneer is offering its financial and investment products over the phone through toll-free phone in the 1970s.
The company had been amongst the early adopters of artificial technology and in the 1990s, ran its Fidelity Money Line answering system with the use of voice-activated computers.
The interest of the company in cryptocurrencies date back a number of years and it was again amongst the first financial companies to show interest in it. It took small but very significant moves to understand the technology behind Bitcoin and its underlying technology of blockchain.
“A few plus years ago, myself and a few other senior executives here were just curious about what was going on, particularly with Bitcoin. We started getting together to say, ‘we’ve got to understand this,” said Fidelity’s CEO, Abby Johnson.
A small Bitcoin mining operation was launched by the firm through which it had managed ot earn Bitcoin at the rate of $180 per coin.
The results of the tests were good for the company, said Johnson: “behold — the price goes up and all the sudden we’re making money, which was never the intent.”
Bitcoin is also accepted as donations by the independent charity arm of Fidelity and this strategy has been a big success. In 2017 alone, it had been able to raise more than $69 million in donations in bitcoins.
“It worked out because there were so many people, newly incredibly wealthy through Bitcoin, who were looking to become philanthropists. We made it really easy for them,” Johnson explained.
A teaser of an upcoming cryptocurrency product that is expected to be launched towards he end of the current year was unveiled by Johnson at a recent event at the company’s Boston headquarters.
Some insight about the cryptocurrency was provided by Johnson.
“We’ve 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.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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