Mutual-fund giant Fidelity is unnerved by the bearish performance of digital currencies in January 2019 and is eyeing a March launch date for its BTC custody service.

The news was reported today by Bloomberg, who state they got the information from three people close to the matter.

Fidelity’s Crypto Journey

Fidelity Chief Abigail Johnson has been a crypto enthusiast for a long time, and under her leadership, Fidelity started mining Bitcoin in 2015.

Johnson is throwing her weight behind the Fidelity Digital Assets business they announced in October 2018.

The company said that they would offer a wide range of crypto products aimed at hedge funds and other institutional investors.

The first service available to its users will be Bitcoin storage, as noted by Bloomberg’s sources.

The sources are unnamed employees from three firms that have talked with Fidelity on the matter over the past few weeks.

Once Bitcoin custody is launched, the firm will eye custodial services for Ether next apparently.

The company noted in a Tuesday statement that they are working on building their initial solutions and are serving only a select number of eligible clients.

Over the next several months, we will thoughtfully engage with and prioritize prospective clients based on needs, jurisdiction and other factors,” said the company.

The Risk and Reward of Custodial Services

It appears that Fidelity is marching towards its custodial business at full speed.

The largest provider of mutual funds and retirement savings in the US is trying to leverage its industry expertise and experience to win institutional customers interested in the crypto business.

Fidelity already works with over 13,000 financial institutions.

The firm also hired blockchain tech company Chain Inc.’s former president Tom Jessop as head of corporate business development.

Custody is a common service in traditional financial markets, but the crypto market has lacked custody offerings from large financial firms that many Wall Street professionals seek.

Fidelity may be able to fill this role.

JP Morgan Chase, Northern Trust Corp, and New York Mellon Corp have explored entering this space as well.

For companies looking to enter this business, the challenges and risks would be in managing customers cryptographic keys while also ensuring that they stay compliant and can fend off any hackers, as noted by BNY Mellon in their October report.

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