Fidelity is in the "final testing" phase for its new digital asset business

Fidelity, the asset manager known for its retail and institutional broker businesses, said in a blog post out Thursday evening that it is in the "final testing" phase for its digital asset custody and broker business. 

"Our initial clients are an important part of our final testing and process refinement periods, which will eventually enable us to provide these services to a broader set of eligible institutions," the firm said. 

Fidelity announced at the end of 2018 that it would gatecrash the cryptocurrency world with a new unit, dubbed Fidelity Digital Assets, which would provide institutional clients with custody and trading services. As reported by Bloomberg, the launch date for the new business could be sometime in March.

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The blog did not confirm or deny that report, but it did say the firm is working hard at building a platform that institutions can trust. 

"Our conversations with a variety of institutions have served to underscore their clear need for a trusted platform provider in order to engage with digital assets in a meaningful way," the firm said. "We are committed to exceeding the requirements and standards of existing solutions with both our custody platform and trading venue — providing a combination of security and a central point of market access, disrupting the obfuscated nature of trading digital assets today." In addition, the company's auditors are working with several teams spanning compliance and risk to ensure its product suite is up to snuff. 

Fidelity, arguably one of the largest Wall Street firms involved in crypto, manages over $7 trillion for its clients and maintains over 13,000 financial services relationships. Its big name and gravitas among the creme-de-la-creme of Wall Street could provide a much-needed entry point for large investors to enter the floundering crypto market, which has seen its value tank from $800 billion to slightly north of $100 billion over the last year. 

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Frank Chaparro is Host of The Scoop podcast and Director of Special Projects. He also writes a biweekly newsletter. Chaparro started his career at Business Insider, where he specialized in the intersection of digital assets and Wall Street, market structure, and financial technology. Soon after joining Business Insider out of Fordham University, Chaparro was interviewing top finance and tech executives, including billionaire Mark Cuban, “Flash Boys” star Brad Katsuyama, Cboe Global Markets CEO Ed Tilly, and New York Stock Exchange President Tom Farley. In 2018, he become a sought after reporter in the crypto world, interviewing luminaries such as Tyler Winklevoss, the cofounder of Gemini, Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of Circle, and Fundstrat head Tom Lee. For inquiries or tips, email [email protected].