The dreaded BitLicense is widely regarded as one of the most notorious and controversial pieces of crypto legislation ever administered, which is why whenever a company gets one, it’s kind of a big deal.
The BitLicense Isn’t Hated By All
Among the recent companies to get their hands on a BitLicense is Fidelity Investments, which opened its crypto assets trading division not too long ago. The license will allow the company to operate in the Big Apple and provide all its crypto and blockchain services to customers in New York.
The BitLicense arrived on the crypto scene in 2015 to rather negative reception. Many cryptocurrency companies and enthusiasts believed that the document was a way of stifling crypto innovation and shutting down businesses that dealt in blockchain. They called it unfair, largely because it charged very heavy fees for companies that were simply starting out. As a result, several ventures either packed up and left New York altogether, or refused to service customers within the state.
However, some refused to be beaten down and worked hard to ensure their companies were on good terms with the state of New York. One such company was the Gemini Exchange, founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss of “The Social Network” fame. The Twins garnered a BitLicense roughly four years ago and have edged out what is widely considered to be one of the largest and most prominent cryptocurrency exchanges in the western hemisphere.
Now, Fidelity is joining the ranks of Gemini. While originally based in Boston, Massachusetts, the company had previously obtained a “company charter” from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) to allow Fidelity Digital Asset Services – its crypto division – to provide customers in the Big Apple with crypto trading and custody services. The platform is designed for professional and institutional investors and is looking to be more in line with present regulation to ensure traders feel safe engaging in transactions.
In a blog post, the company explains:
We have experienced a high interest level from these firms and anticipate that their increased involvement in this industry would enable more activities and development across the spectrum.
A History of Crypto
The digital asset division of the company has been around for more than a year, first opening its doors for business in October of 2018. At the time, Fidelity spokesperson Arlene Roberts explained:
We currently have a select set of clients we’re supporting on our platform. We will continue to roll out our services over the coming weeks and months based on our clients’ needs, jurisdictions, and other factors. Currently, our service offering is focused on bitcoin.
At the time of writing, Fidelity manages approximately $7 trillion in total assets. The company has also conducted a new survey suggesting roughly 22 percent of institutional players already dabble in crypto.