Fidelity Investments Staffing up to Launch Crypto Exchange: Report

  • US investment giant Fidelity Investments is reportedly looking to launch its own cryptocurrency exchange
  • This according to job postings the firm sent its employees, whichreveal it's looking for staff that can help it launch the platform.

US investment giant Fidelity Investments is reportedly looking for talent to help it launch a cryptocurrency exchange that will allow its clients to “buy and sell certain digital assets.” Sources familiar with the matter purportedly revealed the firm has been working on the project for over a year.

According to Business Insider the wealth firm, which manages over $2.5 trillion in assets, has sent employees job postings that reveal it is looking for a DevOps system engineer to “help engineer, create, and deploy a Digital Asset exchange to both a public and private cloud.”

Moreover, the company is looking to staff up its crypto division, the Fidelity Digital Asset Services unit, with workers that can develop a “first-in-class custodian services for Bitcoin and other digital currencies.”

The report cites unnamed sources said to be familiar with Fidelity’s crypto ambitions. While right now Coinbase users can use Fidelity’s platform to check their portfolios alongside other investments, the move would likely see Fidelity directly hold cryptocurrencies.

While launching a cryptocurrency exchange would be one of the biggest moves a prominent Wall Street firm has made into the crypto market, it would put Fidelity Investments in competition with other industry giants, including Coinbase, investment app Robinhood, and Goldman Sachs-backed Circle, which recently acquired Poloniex for $400 million.

At press time, it isn’t clear whether Fidelity Investments’ new cryptocurrency exchange would be available on the firm’s main platform, or whether it would be launched as a separate entity. Similarly, there’s no available information on when it’s set to be launched.

According to Dave Weisberger, a market structure specialist, Fidelity’s move may be a smart one, as it will help legitimize the market and would strategically make sense. He said:

"They have many of the components already: a significant retail footprint across the spectrum of active to less active traders, a prime brokerage area that knows how to account for custody of assets, they operate an ATS already (called 'CrossStream'), and have a reputation for excellence and risk control in their product offerings.”

Dave Weisberger

It’s worth noting Fidelity Investments’ chief executive officer, Abigail Johnson, is a well-known bitcoiner. Last year, she revealed the company internally experimented with cryptocurrencies, and even launched a small mining operation that was “actually making a lot of money,” despite only being there for educational purposes.

At the time, Johnson revealed she is a “believer,” and that she was one of the few “from a large financial services company that has not given up on digital currencies.” The company’s charitable wing, Fidelity Charitable, raised over $22 million in bitcoin last year. At press time, it still allows philanthropists to donate using the flagship cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin Ransomware Attack: Google Disables Baltimore Officials’ Gmail Accounts

The Baltimore City government has been under siege since May 7, as it was hit with a ransomware attack that saw hackers demand $100,000 in bitcoin and officials refuse to pay the ransom. In a new development, Google disabled officials’ Gmail accounts being used as a turnaround.

According to The Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore City government created Gmail accounts to work during the ransomware attack, as the city’s servers have been disrupted to the point their baltimorecity.gov emails aren’t working.

Recently, however, emails sent to several of the newly created Gmail addresses returned messages claiming the “email account that you tried to reach is disabled.” It was found that Google has considered these business accounts that need to be paid, instead of free individual Gmail accounts.

James Bentley, a spokesperson for Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, noted Baltimore planned to purchase a business plan from Google so the accounts could be restored. The news outlet quoted him as saying:

They disabled them because they deemed them to be business accounts. Their position is these accounts are circumventing their paid service

City Council President Brandon Scott added that meanwhile his staff was appealing the suspension with Google, although he hadn’t been briefed on the problem. A spokeswoman for Baltimore’s health department claimed she was able to see received old emails, but not send or receive new ones.

Per her words, there as no notice on why the account was disabled. On its website, Google claims it’ll suspend accounts used for sending spam, distribute malware, abuse children, violate copyright, or for other illicit purposes.

As CryptoGlobe covered, Baltimore was hit with a ransomware attack earlier this month that brought its real estate industry to a halt and crippled some of its essential systems. So much so the city’s collection and transfer of property taxes and water bills have been affected.

The hackers attacked the city’s servers with a new type of ransomware known as “Robbinhood,” and are demand a 13 BTC ($102,900) ransom to stop the whole attack. They also gave the city the option to pay 3 BTC ($23,700) to decrypt a specific system.