Fidelity Investments, one of the largest investing firms across the globe, today announced that it will serve as the custodian of all bitcoin funds held by Nickel Digital Asset Management in London.
The deal makes Nickel Digital Asset Management “Fidelity’s first European partner fund in the digital assets space,” according to a press release. The firm further said that it hopes its new arrangement will help attract more institutional players to the world of digital assets.
Among Fidelity’s duties as custodian will be to protect these bitcoin funds from theft and other cyberattacks, according to the Evening Standard.
The news comes roughly one month after the opening of Fidelity’s digital currency office in Europe. The firm opened a legal entity in the United Kingdom last December and appointed Christopher Tyrer—a former managing director of Barclays—as its head.
“Fidelity has always been tech focused, and we have a large incubator focused on cryptocurrency,” Tyrer told the Evening Standard today. “This has the full backing of chief executive Abigail Johnson, who is very interested in this space.”
One of the primary arguments behind cryptocurrency's lack of mainstream adoption is that institutional investors do not play a big enough part in the industry. Most have been reluctant to jump into digital assets given the volatility in prices and relative lack of investor protections.
Fidelity, which manages close to $8 trillion in total assets for its clients, is one of the few institutional players bucking that trend. In early 2019, it unveiled its cryptocurrency trading and custody branch, Fidelity Digital Assets. Today, the company believes that the crypto market’s issues with institutional investor participation, regulation, and low-end service providers are being better addressed.
“We see those three factors slowly resolving themselves, and as a result, we are seeing a pick-up in institutional investor interest,” Tyrer told Reuters.